The Langdon Area Elementary School parents and students have a new after-school program that challenges students through the application of science, technology, engineering, art, and math-themed projects. The STEAM CAMP after-school care program began on August 26, 2019. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
The project coordinator, Krista Aanderud, who organizes the monthly lesson plans and coordinates with the other staff, said that she and the other staff members try to incorporate something from each of the science, technology, engineering, art, and math areas into the projects they do.
All students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade are invited to attend STEAM Camp. The current school’s schedule allows kindergarten through second-grade students to participate on Monday and Wednesday, and third through sixth-grade students to attend on Tuesday and Thursday. While the program runs after school from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., the hour from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. is expressly set aside for STEAM-based projects and experiments. Many of the projects the students participate in are hands-on, problem-based, and geared towards STEAM projects, college, and career readiness skills.
The program has four primary goals. The first is to develop connections with students, families, and the overall community. The second goal is to provide high-quality instruction in the areas of math, science, language arts, and technology. The third goal is to incorporate lessons involving problem-based learning, college and career readiness, and STEAM. The final goal of the program is to make a continuous effort to evaluate the effectiveness of the program and make continuous improvements.
Students in kindergarten through second grade have created towers, boats that float, traps to catch a turkey, and obstacle courses, among other things. Students in third through sixth grade have created a food truck business, planned a Christmas party with guests from around the world, and, most recently, participated in a cupcake competition.
Students have also participated in field trips. For example, students virtually attended a field trip to the San Diego Zoo. On that field trip, they were able to view footage from cameras positioned in the animal habitats. During another field trip, students traveled to Maple Manor Care Center here in Langdon. Kindergarten through second-grade students delivered hand-made Christmas cards while the third through sixth-grade students played BINGO with the residents.
Besides Program Coordinator Aanderud, the other staff in the program include Krista Cahill, Taylor Benneweis, McKenzie Blumhagen, and Nancy Feil. Aanderud also said she is thankful for Alison Podhradsky, who has helped out on several occasions when they have needed extra supervision.
“We also have a morning program called Breakfast Bunch, which is overseen by Ms. Nancy Feil. Breakfast Bunch is a program that allows students a quiet place to get assistance with homework," Aanderud explained.
Though the STEAM Camp is new to Langdon, the program has been around since 1998. According to Aanderud, the STEAM Program is part of the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) Program, which was established by Congress as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Langdon Area Elementary School’s 21st CCLC Program is funded by a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education, which is administered by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. The 21st CCLC Program provides opportunities for eligible schools to offer before and after school programs. The NESC 21st CCLC programs give students opportunities for academic enrichment and provide a broad array of enrichment services that are designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program.