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WVU-Parkersburg donates to Blennerhassett Elementary School

A student at Blennerhassett Elementary School works on a LEGO S.T.E.A.M. kit donated by West Virginia University at Parkersburg. (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — The Blennerhassett Elementary School Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics program has received a donation by the West Virginia University at Parkersburg Education division to help students develop critical thinking and collaboration skills.

The division recently provided LEGO S.T.E.A.M. kits to the school, which students can use to participate in the LEGO Education Playmakers Challenge. The challenge leads students in grades K-1 through the engineering design process, engaging in challenges that allow them to explore creativity, language and mathematical skills.

“It is a wonderful feeling to know we are able to assist in some small way teachers such as Ms. Lisa Smith to challenge students in the classrooms,” said David Lancaster, WVU Parkersburg education chairperson. “There are few experiences in life that compare with observing a student learning through play.”

Smith is a Blennerhassett Elementary S.T.E.A.M. teacher. Students are challenged to research and create new ways to get active by designing play places and an obstacle course, she said.

“Our kindergarten and first graders enjoy learning about simple machines through play with the kits.” Smith said.

Hands-on learning encourages team building and helps students become more independent in their learning. Students who participate in hands-on learning also see an increase in engagement, motor skills and lesson retention, Smith said.

“Hands-on learning is essential for students who are moving from concrete to abstract thinking. Students are learning perseverance, collaboration skills and learning from mistakes throughout the project,” Smith. “They practice engineering design by researching, creating, testing, and improving their models. The best part is that they are having so much fun while they are learning they don’t even realize how much work they are doing.”

The college provides tools like the LEGO S.T.E.A.M. kits for WVU Parkersburg students to use free of charge during their field experiences. Using available state-of-the-art materials, and new technology, teaching candidates can better prepare for the profession and serve their classrooms.

“We just want to thank WVU Parkersburg for making this project possible with our students,” said Smith. “The students can’t wait to work on the project every week, and it’s so exciting to watch the cross-curricular learning taking place.”

To learn more about the education division and programs offered, visit wvup.edu/education.

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