Children’s Center to Begin ‘Oh Wow! On Wheels’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Kindergarten teachers soon will be able to bring a bit of Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology into their classrooms.

Oh Wow! On Wheels is a package of activities that teachers can lease for a few weeks. Each will focus on a different aspect of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, says Suzanne Barbati, center president and executive director.

“We’re looking at starting with kindergarten so we have a product in place that we’ll be putting together and distributing after the first of the year,” Barbati says.

The premise behind the kit is allowing teachers to make the most of their limited budgets, Audra Carlson says.

Carlson is the director of education at Oh Wow.

“This is a great way for us to make hands-on activities in their classrooms,” Carlson elaborates. “They’re fun, exciting and educational, of course, because they’re from Oh Wow, but it’s a great way to introduce scientific concepts.”

Oh Wow has been testing the kits for more than a year in partnership with the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley’s Success by Six, PNC Bank and Head Start, Barbati says.

The kits contain five or six lessons, including materials and lesson plans, she says. After the kits are returned, the materials used will be replenished, the kits then available to be leased again.

“The kids are asked to collect data on the things that they’re seeing and hearing,” Carlson says. “It can be as simple as drawing a picture [or] circling an image that represents what they’re observing.”

Twenty-five kits will be available, specific to kindergarten, Barbati says. Plans call for developing kits for up to fourth grade.

Each kit will have a specific focus such as sound, air or water, Carlson says. The kit that focuses on sound, for example, features plastic tubes of various lengths and plastic eggs that contain assorted materials that make different sounds when shaken.

The kits align with Ohio Common Core standards, Carlson notes. “We try to stay true to the next generation science standards as well,” she adds.

The kits incorporate a professional development component so that teachers will be comfortable presenting the material. Some school districts have bought similar kits from national organizations but never opened because teachers “didn’t have a comfort level with the materials,” Barbati says.

Pictured: Audra Carlson and Suzanne Barbati show items in the teaching kit that soon will be made available to kindergarten teachers.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.