Neah-Kah-Nie Middle School

Sixth grader Emma Buchanan with her kit

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Neah-Kah-Nie (NKN) Middle School received 80 LEGO Gadget kits to send home to every sixth grader this year, as well as the seventh and eighth graders in the MS Robotics Club. This gives students the opportunity to get hands on LEGO materials they may not have at home.

Library Media Specialist Kathryn Harmon said Don Domes, a semi-retired Computer Science educator in Hillsboro, came up with the idea over the summer as a way to help provide students with materials during comprehensive distance learning.

“Domes teaches teachers to utilize LEGO TECHNIC as an educational tool through Oregon Computer Science Teachers Association,” Harmon said. “I was lucky to take several of his informative 3+ day long trainings.”

Domes emailed Harmon about the idea, and she contacted Myronda Schiding at the North Coast StemHub to see if there might be funding to support this opportunity.

“Myronda loved the idea and helped the North Coast Stemhub organize a bulk purchase of kits for interested teachers to distribute to our students in our region,” Harmon said.

The bulk purchase was made from Scholastic for a discounted price, Harmon added. The price was $14 per unit. The total donation for NKN was $1,148, including the to-your-door delivery by Schiding.

“We were able to purchase 893 kits in Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook Counties because of a COVID response grant our STEM Hub received from the Oregon Community Foundation,” Schiding said.

These kits are going directly to the students. Schiding is dropping them off at the schools for the teachers to distribute to their students.

“The kits are going to Rainier and Sauvie Island Schools in Columbia County, Seaside and Warrenton schools in Clatsop County and Neah-Kah-Nie and Tillamook schools in Tillamook County,” Schiding said. “Most of the kits are going to elementary and middle school students, but some high school teachers are using them for physics instruction.”

Schiding said teachers are seeing this as a great way to engage students in hands-on activities linked to STEM in their virtual classes.

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