Students at Wakonda Elementary learn STEM skills through robotics and programming

Posted at 5:49 AM, May 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-08 06:49:19-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Knowing how to use technology could be the key to finding success in the workplace. An Omaha elementary school is trying to teach kids how to use that knowledge in their future careers.

The need for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills is part of every industry. Which is why Aim Institute aims to connect and inspire students towards the tech community.

"This is the best class I’ve ever been in,” said Wakonda third grader, Tanzell Adame. If you ask Adame about her favorite class, she'll tell you it involves robots. Tooth brush robots to be exact. For this latest project students built the bots by making mini tooth brushes move on their own. "And we put it on the table and it starts acting like a ballerina or just walks straight,” said Adame.

New this year third, fourth and fifth grade students at Wakonda Elementary are receiving STEM and technology education thanks to the Aim Institute and Brain Exchange. Groups that want to inspire students towards STEM job fields. "They get so excited to see that learning pop,” said Wakonda principal Jennifer LeClair.

LeClair said the students participating in this class showed a high interest in programming and robotics. “This gives us an opportunity for kids to see that connection between the technology they use in the classrooms and then the technology in the real world,” she said.

It also allows kids to try without the fear of failing. And sets students like third grader Asa'nae Marks up for future workplace success. “I wanna be a technology teacher when I grow up,” said Marks.

“Employers are looking for people that are innovative and ask questions and are able to problem solve,” said LeClair. She adds the younger the kids can start learning, the better. “I don't think it's ever too soon for kids to be trying and learning the technology that we see brain exchange bringing to our classrooms,” she said.

Thanks to an anonymous donor and grant money, this type of hands-on education will be able to expand to other Omaha public schools. They will also get to start working with second graders at Wakonda.