Monday, May 23, 2016

Remake Learning Days: ALEC Open House

    Allentown Learning and Engagement Center was chosen as a host site for Remake Learning Days on Thursday, May 12.  We held our open house that afternoon and had activities lined up from 4-6pm.  Let's get into it!

    We wanted the students to be super pumped about this event.  We talked with them the whole week leading up to it, getting ideas about what sort of snacks they would want to serve to guests, as well as what sort of activities we should have out to show and let our guests use.  

    One of the most popular snacks throughout the year at our program was sauteed brussel sprouts.  As far as vegetables go, this one really hit home with a majority of the youth.  Just a little oil, halved brussel sprouts, and a dash of lemon juice and salt gives them a delicious - yet simple - flavor.

    Another popular snack was fruit smoothies.  Frozen fruit (strawberries and raspberries) combined with ice and occasionally pineapple juice was often all that was needed to make these treats.  We froze ripened bananas that were cut into smaller chunks to ensure that it was refreshingly cold.  

    Along with having the students showcase the games, we had them pass out these particular snacks to grown ups and youth alike.  We also had cheese and fruit platters available.

    One of the students' favorite lessons this year was using Popsicle sticks and rubber bands to make catapults.  Let's be honest though, who doesn't enjoy launching things into the air?  

We also recently acquired snap circuits; learning kits that teach about electronics, electricity, and circuitry.  The kit pictured above is the "Green" snap circuits kit, which includes a solar panel and a propeller/fan to generate electricity with wind.  

    The other kit is the snap circuits extreme kit, with 4 booklets containing over 500 projects, including some that require a computer.  This kit has more parts and can create larger projects on the snap board, some requiring two sets of battery packs to power.  There are resistors, switches, LED lights, and a device that emits many unique sounds depending on what and where other pieces are attached.

     While we had that technology in the back room, we also had our Lego set out for anyone to create and imagine with.  While we anticipated some of the younger kids would be likely to go for these, we also knew that our own students thoroughly enjoy quality time building planes and cars and exploring the rooms with them.

    The final station we had was our KANO.  It is a small computer that the students put together, and once hooked up to a screen (any screen, be it TV or computer, that has an HDMI port works) allows the youth to explore coding, the internet, and what makes a computer tick.  We had quite a long line for that one, since it had games like Minecraft and Pong (which, interestingly, is over 40 years old).  It has been widely popular at our program and we anticipate it will be for quite some time.

    All in all, it was another awesome open house at ALEC.  We are really proud of what our students do each year and we are incredibly thankful that we get to show off!  We eagerly await our next opportunity to show why after school matters!

    A special thank you to APOST and Urbankind for their kind contributions to this event, and Remake Learning for making events like this possible!

- Steven

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