In April of 2017, Mrs. Barcelona applied to be a part of a grant funded partnership between UNL’s Mid-America Transportation Center and Umonhon Nation Public School. In May we were notified that Mrs. Barcelona was accepted as teaching staff for the summer Sovereign Youth STEM Leadership Academy at UNL, and that through this opportunity, Umonhon Nation Public School would serve as a pilot school for the after school STEM program.
Mrs. Barcelona took several of our high school students to the Leadership Academy on the UNL campus during the summer. The summer academy is approximately one week long and the students experience dorm life as well as getting a lot of college information and field experience in the STEM categories. The students are also mentored in their leadership skills while at the academy.
When we returned to classes in the Fall of 2017, Mrs. Barcelona and Mr. Gabriel Bruguier worked hard with administration from both UNPS and UNL to get the after school program planned and in motion. The MATC After School Program is called Roads, Rails, and Race Cars. The chapter within our school is commonly known as Science Club or Lil’ Engineers Club.
The after-school program is scheduled to take place once a week, with staff from MATC/UNL coming to UNPS to bring supplies and lessons/challenges to the students. All Middle School Students are welcomed to join the club, and are free to come when they are available. This Fall, the Club took place on Tuesdays, from 3:45 pm until 4:45 pm in Mrs. Barcelona’s classroom. We have had a total of 33 students come to the Club and participate throughout the Fall.
Some of the challenges the students were given were:
Building bridges out of straws; they were given 25 straws and 3 feet of tape. They had to make a structure that would hold as much weight as possible. The next week we finished the bridges and the students tested them with washers. One of the straw bridges held over 5 pounds!
Designing and constructing cars that were slingshot propelled.
Designing and constructing a race car that is propelled by rubber bands… and then racing them.
One of the most recent challenges was to design and construct a glider… using only materials in a gallon sized ziplock bag. All students had random materials that could be found around the house. Once they built the gliders, they took them in the hallways to measure who made the glider that flew the furthest.
There were other challenges that also took place such as: index card bridges, building the highest tower out of spaghetti and 10 mini marshmallows, constructing a paper tower (one student built a tower taller than himself), and making “Penny Boats” (boats made entirely of tin foil that had to float even holding weights).