Elementary kid's STEM projects focus on solutions to flood damage

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - A class of fifth graders at Dodge Elementary School prove age is just a number as they apply STEM to real life problems in our communities.

For their most recent project, they developed their own prototypes to help prevent or slow down flooding in an effort to reduce damages to homes.

"This is fake, but in real life you would get to know what to do, and how to stop your house from being flooded," said Kenner Monterola, one of the students.

Students did some research on the recent flood to understand the affect it had on people and their homes.

They looked up water resistant materials and designed their own plans to build flood barriers, all within a budget.

"If a flood does come, it didn't come to our town, but if it does come to our town, it would be important for us to make something to help other people's lives and ours to save our houses and our things," said Katie Poe, a student in the class.

Students worked in groups for the project, called the "Flood Barrier Challenge." They used clay for cement, sand and sponges.

The class then tested their prototypes, pouring water into the build. they waited three minutes, then measured how much water got into their houses.

"Miss Stevens said if we actually found a way to get enough water out, we could get a patent so we could use it for actual real stuff," said Leticia Martinez, a student in the class.

Nikole Stevens, the teacher of the class, said it's important to teach kids math, science and technology concepts in today's world.

She said it's a growing field, and kids need to learn how to work together to find solutions to issues in their communities.

"When I was taught, we sat in our desks, and this is how you do this. So letting them do the hands on learning, and actually problem solve, I mean that's what they'll do when they're adults. You have to go out into the world and solve problems," Stevens said.

Stevens will continue teaching her classes hands-on STEM projects similar to this one so they know how to apply what they learn to real life.