Children enjoying lessons in STEAM during summer program

MERCEDES — Xavier Guillen sat in front of the class typing computer code on his school laptop.

Then he began to review what he had created.

It is a story form cartoon of a little girl standing on the Moon who comes across an alien life.

He was excited to see and hear the sounds he made for his animation, and then he continued to work on it more.

He and his classmates are creating animated stories with computer-introduced coding at the ACE summer camp.

“We have incorporated hands-on projects and introduced the students to coding,” said Marcos De Los Santos, Mercedes school district ACE program director. “We have modified instruction and moved the classroom direction to focus on STEAM concepts.”

STEAM is Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics.

By the end of their learning sessions in June, the students will know how to make a video game and 20-minute animated story.

The Elementary Summer ACE Program will run for six weeks, beginning in June and ending in July.

This week, the John F. Kennedy Elementary first through fifth grades are working on making vehicles that will carry ping pong balls.

And at the end of the week each grade level will challenge each other to see who built the best design and executed the project the best.

“Every project is different and it’s really fun,” said Sylvia Garza, ACE Kennedy school director. “They are working on it daily to learn how to work better.”

The program is challenging the students to follow rules and restrictions and build their designs by trial and error.

Auyanna Lopez said she is learning many new things and is having a great time participating in the ACE program.

“I’m working on it with my friends and they all have good ideas,” Auyanna said. “The ping pong balls are not going to fall out of our design.”