Aquatic Adventures

Hi there!

The students have started to explore Aquatic life in the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie.  When asking students about the river, many youth had not heard the name nor know where  the Cuyahoga River is located.  We’re “tackling that!”  Pun intended.

Youth were given a map of the Cuyahoga River that winds through Cleveland communities.  I guided them through the map and students observed that the river empties into Lake Erie.

Native fish in the river were introduced and youth researched the fish they were assigned to including:  Bluegill, Walleye, Yellow Perch, White Bass and Channel Catfish.  If you would like to learn more about fishing in Ohio please click on this link:  After clicking on the link you can enter any zip code you like to find fishing spots, bait shops, marinas, and more.  Plus, logged catches, fish species, and fishing forecasts can be found!!  I used the fish species page to print information about some species we studied afterschool.

Fish adaptation and habitats will be explored within the next two weeks as well as pollution and how it affects all aquatic life.

Please reach out if you have any questions.


Afterschool Youth explored electricity and how things work for a few weeks.  They were engaged in making a clock run with lemons, wires, and connectors.  There were many great questions asked such as “Will I get shocked?” and “How can a lemon make electricity?”

First, let me say that students are not shocked in the lemon experiment!!  The lemon contains citric acid and water. When metals are introduced to citric acid a small current is created through conduction.  Therefore, the lemon acts as a battery and can power a very small clock.

Electromagnetism was explored using a 6 V battery, wires, and a compass.  Electric currents have magnetic fields.  Navigation with a compass can be affected with the right type of current.  Youth explored electromagnetism in small groups, communicated, asked questions, and tested their knowledge through various means.  All by themselves!!  They were engaged and excited about their discoveries!

If you would like to learn more, please click on this link:


Please reach out if you have any questions or ideas.

Studying Aerodynamics with Paper Airplanes

Last week, students explored the science of flight through creating and flying paper airplanes. Aerodynamics is They put their knowledge of coding to work to design simple airplanes.

The Four Forces of flight include thrust, lift, drag, and weight.  The students explored these forces creating, testing, evaluating, adjusting, and retesting their airplanes.  The materials in this project included a piece of paper and three paper clips.

What I loved most about this project is that youth were helping each other “de-bug” problems and show what they know for teaching purposes.  They are becoming great thinkers, problem-solvers, communicators, and engineers.  I am so proud of them!!

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) offers careers in aeronautics (airplane) and aerospace engineering (air and spacecraft).  NASA is working on sustainable aviation that may be implemented by the year 2050.  Please click on the video link to learn more:

Clovers Code: Creating Opportunities Designed for Everyone (CODE)

The past two weeks students have been exploring iPad apps including:  Sketches, Scratch Jr., and Swift Playgrounds (Learn to Code).  Many people throughout the world watch TV, use a computer, and play video games.  We are consuming technology that other people are creating through Coding.  Computer Science  (CS) is being implemented in schools everywhere.  It is a growing  career field!  CS is utilized in businesses and government sectors.  Introducing youth to coding and apps that teach it can allows for students to explore and problem solve.

Students are using apps that are engaging.  They are using their knowledge and problem-solving skills to create codes that move and/ or animate characters through algorithms.  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary explains that an Algorithm is a step-by-step procedures for solving a problem or accomplishing some end.  If an algorithm is “broken” it needs to be “debugged” or fixed to move characters correctly.  Collaborating with friends helps build verbal communication and social skills.

“Unplugged” coding does not involve technology.  The students will be exploring unplugged coding at a later date.  Here is a website for unplugged activities that can be implemented at home: .  There are many websites that have unplugged ideas!!

Project Based Learning (PBL) is a great way to inspire learning. I welcome your child to share projects they have completed at home during our after school program.



Having a “BLAST” with STEM!

Hello, all!  The Cuyahoga County 4-H Extension has paired with Cleveland Playhouse  to offer afterschool programming at the following schools: Halle Elementary, Almira Elementary, Buhrer Elementary, Walton Elementary, and Stonebrook- White Elementary.  Our organizations are happy to be able to serve students within our community.  A bit thank you Cleveland Playhouse for partnership and giving kids wonderful opportunities in afterschool programs!

The students have been exploring force and motion through creating “moon craters,” catapults, and sling shot rockets.  They have been busy collaborating, designing, problem solving, and communicating with peers.  Hands-on projects allow students to examine and analyze materials to make simple machines.

Learning through play is fun and engaging!   Children have lots of great questions about how things work and how the world works.  I hope they explore their ideas at home as well as in school.

Please visit our blog often to stay up-to-date!