Leaders in Learning — Electricity and magnetism kits bring math and science to life

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - A second grade teacher at Morningside Elementary School in Twin Falls won a grant from CapEd. She used the money to buy electricity and magnetism kits.

"I really became interested in the process of having my kids dive into electricity and magnetism when we had a story in our 'Wonders' book that was on magnets," said Janel Myers, the recipient of the award.

She said it's "awesome" to play with things that repel and attract, but she wanted to go beyond that.

"Magnets go beyond what goes on your refrigerator to hold your report cards. So, I started looking at things on STEMfinity, talking with colleagues just what my kids can learn on their own," she said.

After talking with colleagues she founds some kits that would help her students. Each box was a little different.

"You have to take that yellow thing that had batteries and connect to wires in it and you had to connect the two wires to the light bulb and then it would light up," said student Sierra Baumgartner.

If done correctly, the wires connected will light up a light bulb.

"It's actual positive-negative connections and just circuits that you see," Myers said.

Another box had students draw lines with different colored markers, draw lines from a manual, and a robot would be able to follow it.

"You have to get some markers and you have to draw what there is on the paper," said student Easton Drisenti. "You have to turn the autobot on and you have to put it on the lines."

Myers said she bought these kits because although they have to follow a manual to start, they can go beyond that after they figure out the contraptions.

"Now that I can make it a, b, c, what can I do to make this really fabulous," she said. "That's what I like about the kits, because the kids can then start to 'OK, so now I can make a dinosaur or I get to make a light, two lights to light up' and then they can make their own creations."

She said it's a lot of problem solving as well.

"Like the snap circuits. You have to connect the electric circuit to the battery so that the light lights up and the fan spins around in a circle if you have done it correctly," she said. "The kids have to go back, have to look at the steps, what did I miss, what did I do wrong, so it's huge problem solving, which is above and beyond basic math worksheets."

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