Jackson Wickle, Andriy Orlga, and Samantha Diaz, 3rd grade

Will Rogers Elementary School students combined their creativity with the information they’ve been learning all year to create sustainable engineering projects and a student-built cardboard arcade.

Students showcased and demonstrated their engineering projects to parents and community members Tuesday morning at the annual Will Rogers Learning Community STEM Open House. Each project was accompanied by an informative commercial featuring the students.

“Students get to share the work they’ve been doing for the past month and see other kids projects as well,” said Laura Simon, Will Rogers Community STEM coach.

There were a wide variety of projects displayed as each grade worked on projects related to a different category, building from the material they’ve been studying all year.

TK built towers, kindergarten created kinetic sculptures, first grade showcased biomimicry projects, third grade showed-off their magnet inventions and fifth grade presented Mars landing drag devices.

Fifth-graders have been studying forces in space and engaged in NASA-oriented projects to learn and create ideas for their projects, said Simon.

Students were also enticed by their personal interests to engineer projects that have a positive impact on society.

Third-grader Annika Newall worked on the “Avenger Car,” a car with a magnetic superpower which slows cars down in parking lots to avoid crashes. Newall said the inspiration came from her and her friends worrying about accidents and their love for Avengers.

“My favorite part was learning about how they survived and what they ate and their art and tradition,” said Ruby Turner, who researched Santa Monica’s indigenous peoples and built models of their habitat.

Alejandra Carrillo and Ileana Delacerda built magnetic book holders so pages don’t move in the wind.

After engineering project presentations, second and fourth graders hosted Caine’s Arcade. The event was inspired by Caine Monroy who built a cardboard arcade in his father’s auto parts store one summer when he was nine-years-old. His first customer filmed a short documentary about the arcade which went viral, he is now 17 and wants to go to college to become an engineer.

All donations from the arcade will go to Solar Sister, an organization that delivers clean energy products and services to women in Africa, and Key to the Sea, an environmental education program.

The organizations were chosen because of their relevance to students coursework, said Simon. The second grade curriculum focused on life science and properties and purposes of material, while the fourth graders learned about energy transfer.

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