From working with origami to paper planes to plastic bottle “stomp rockets,” students from area elementary schools recently participated in the Westside Community Center’s Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math camp.


Under the tutelage of Jane Phillips Elementary School teachers Erinn Rakes, Julie Brown and Jessica Moses, students from the first through the fifth grades were introduced to the scientific process as well as creative aspects of engineering in the Westside Community Center’s new Hans Schmoldt Engineering Technology Center.


“We’re blessed to have partnership with local leaders who are dedicated to providing STEAM education for all Bartlesville students, so that no child is left behind in this 21st century wave of electronic industry,” said WCC interim executive director Morris McCorvey. “The ability of these educators to work with such a broad age group is amazing. They have enabled us to make the vision Hans Schmoldt had for our students a reality. And, this is just the beginning.”


BPS Director of Elementary and Middle Schools, Dianne Martinez added, “We’re grateful to Mr. McCorvey and the Westside Center Board for reaching out to partner with Bartlesville Public Schools, to provide an outstanding STEAM experience for our students. Erinn Rakes and Julie Brown did an awesome job engaging students in real-life learning activities. We hope to expand this program next year.”


The teachers incorporated origami — which is the Japanese art of paper folding — as well as online video and prototyping into their STEAM campus lessons. The hope was that the lessons would lead students through a process that proceeded from research into aero-dynamics, on to development and testing, and finally, back to the proverbial “drawing board.” The camp lasted four days and culminated with the launching of air-powered “stomp rockets” — which were constructed from recycled water bottles — and the measurement of their respective flight paths.


“I had the opportunity to teach a STEAM Class at the Westside Community Center. The class was hands-on and engaging. I was blessed to teach in a close, family-like environment that the WCC provides,” said Julie Brown.


The Westside Community Center is focusing a significant amount of its educational mission on STEAM activities for its Community Advanced Study Hall participants. The arts are included, in keeping with the center’s summer arts history.


More than 90 percent of the children who participate in the after-school study hall are reading and doing math at or above their respective grade-levels, thanks to generous volunteer assistance and United Way support. The study hall provides transportation and nutrition in addition to tutoring, weekdays after school.


For more information and enrollment, contact (918) 336-6760 and/or visit the Westside Community Center, 501 S. Bucy, during weekday business hours.


— Westside Community Center