Get ready to test your hand-eye coordination with student-created games like the Tower of Mayhem and Bottlecap Meadow.
Virginia Beach City Public Schools students are designing Cardboard Carnival games and programming components to impress visitors with their STEM skills at the Cardboard Carnival Showcase from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. May 13 at the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library.
For several months, Virginia Beach Public Library technology and programming staff members have been visiting classrooms and working with teachers and students at Bettie F. Williams Elementary, Bayside Sixth Grade Campus and Bayside Middle School.
They shared science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts such as coding, and provided supplies for students to create cardboard carnival games. Each game has a motorized component, at least one obstacle and a scoring or win/lose system.
During a recent work session at Williams Elementary, Technology Education Librarian Ashley Renn worked with fifth graders on their projects.
“We’re excited about everyone coming into the library to play your games,” she told the students. She provided one-on-one coaching, including helping Destiny Boyce crack a coding problem that was preventing her cardboard creation from working properly.
“Go ahead and pull up your code, and let’s take a look,” Renn said. The technology librarian also provided tips on how to construct the games to conserve battery strength.
The students advised each other on how to make their games more exciting, while boasting about what made each creation unique.
“I made it so it’s different every time you play it,” student Kamrhen Brown said about his Bottlecap Meadow game. “There are a lot of different possibilities.”
Zion Sapida’s Marble Mania game is unique in that after players finish the game, they choose from various color-coded clips, which determines their final score.
At the front of the classroom, gifted resource teacher Julie Hayden was busy piecing together game parts when a student a few desks away cried out, “It broke!”
“What broke?” Hayden asked.
“The thing,” the student replied.
“What thing?” Hayden asked. Upon further investigation, she assured the student the problem wasn’t anything some hot glue couldn’t resolve.
Hayden saw a lot of problem-solving skills at work over the six-week timespan for the after-school program and then again as they worked to finish all the little things during school hours.
“Students were using concepts about physics in their designs, and then the real work was in the construction,” she said. “I loved watching them work through problems and then seeing the joy when they found a solution that worked.”
The Cardboard Carnival project is funded by a $5,000 grant from the Virginia Beach Library Foundation. The school advisers for Bayside 6 Campus and Bayside Middle were Morgan Tully and Rebecca Yaple.
Organizers hope the May 13 carnival will remind visitors that libraries have resources for learning about science and technology. Not only can you check out your favorite best-seller, but VBPL loans coding robots, telescopes and other take-home tech. They also offer a variety of technology-based programs for all ages across all locations.
Students received a small prize for creating games; and they’ll have the chance to win additional prizes like a 3D pen, a Sphero robot and a drone at the carnival. But the biggest reward will be students having fun sharing their STEM skills with the public, Renn said.
“It’s not a competition; it’s a celebration,” she said.