PHOTOS — Port Acres Elementary, BASF TotalEnergies team up for state-of-the-art STEAM Lab

Published 12:20 am Wednesday, May 1, 2024

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There was a lot of STEAM going on at Port Acres Elementary School this week.

From John Hernandez and Drew Ogletree using a real banana and a program called Makey Makey to transfer bongo sounds to a computer to students using a Bee-Bot while learning coding, children and educators celebrated the grand opening of the school’s state-of-the-art STEAM lab.

The lab comes courtesy of BASF TotalEnergies Petrochemicals.

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Dr. Amy Jordan, principal at PAE, said the lab allows the incorporation of all the technology needed in every content area in order for students to get higher education. This helps as they get older to prepare for higher grades and potential careers.

PAE is a prekindergarten through fifth grade campus, and all grade levels are going to use the lab.

“It’s so exciting for us because BASF has brought us technology that our students can utilize, starting in elementary school, and they’re going to be able to maneuver their way through high school and on to higher learning and education. They will take what they learn here then utilize it in the real world,” Jordan said.

L’Tunya Bernard, elementary science supervisor, said children as early as kindergarten can access the STEAM activities so they can be functionally literate in the science department as well as in mathematics. They can integrate science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

John Lycan, BASF TotalEnergies vice president of operations, looked around the colorful room Monday, where the walls are painted with underwater and above water themes and held numerous pieces of STEAM hands-on learning activities.

“It’s always exciting to think about what this room can do and what it’s going to do for kids, not just this year but for many years to come,” Lycan said.

Kenneth Daigre, instructional technology supervisor, said the lab holds items that capture students’ motivations and gets them to learn without knowing they’re learning. There are 3D printers, virtual reality items, coding, snap circuits, rockets and more.

An “Active Floor” area near the front of the room features a machine that projects onto a mat, allowing students to play various learning games, even soccer.

Educators Kendal Lee and Maryanne LeBlanc made a few kicks on the pad, demonstrating one of the many available applications.

The Port Acres Elementary lab is the second such one installed in the area in the past two years. The first one is located at Bob Hope Elementary School in Port Arthur.