Life skills students team up with librarian for fun projects that include literacy and STEAM
The life skills class at Bellefonte Area High School began a new project series with librarian Naomi Rupert that regularly brings them to the makerspace area, and exposes them to new books and new STEAM projects that go hand-in-hand.
Rupert said her goal is to continue introducing the students to projects that incorporate literacy and an activity based on science, technology, engineering, art and math that correlates with the book they’re reading. The idea originally started with her and life skills teacher Lisa Reitz with the mission to get kids out of the classroom and more into the school community.
“I originally thought we should do a First-Chapter Friday, where I pick a book and read the first chapter to intrigue them, but found it didn’t work as well as picture books, so we tweaked it,” Rupert said.
The first project allowed the class to make a circuit board using the game “true or false.” Using a folder, five questions were written on one side with true or false answers on the other side of the folder. A battery pack and piece of aluminum foil was then used to connect the question to the answer, which lit up when they answered the questions correctly.
They then participated in a candy-shooter activity to go with Halloween, which allowed them to use toilet paper rolls, a pencil and rubber band to shoot out candy.
Leading up to Thanksgiving, they read the book “Run Turkey, Run” by Diane Mayr and created a project using box lids and other crafts supplies where they could help the turkey evade the farmer, like in the book.
“They’re amazing kids who can truly do amazing things, and they surprise me every time with their abilities,” Rupert said. “It’s nice to get them out of the classroom, and it’s fun to get to help teach them, but it’s more important to make sure they’re having fun learning.”
The activity will be held one Friday a month throughout the school year in the makerspace area of the library.
*By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD. Photos by Instructional Technology Specialist Arlin Roth.
- Ashley Harter: Really enjoys "the stories we read."
- Amber Keith: Really Likes "doing fun activities and making all the fun things."
- Kenny Russo: Likes "to create things and learn about new books."
"I really love the opportunity for my students to participate in STEM (and) STEAM activities. I love learning experiences where my students can think outside the box and create new and exciting things! With COVID putting a wrench in our typical community outreach activities, we had to creatively think of new community adventures. We quickly learned that our school is very much our community, and embraced the library and makerspace area as places to learn, grow and explore. We also carry over those STEM activities into the everyday classroom and build upon what was learned in the makerspace." -- Reitz