ACE students take part in STEM academies

Before heading out on winter break, the HCISD Afterschool Centers on Education program hosted two different Saturday STEM academies, one for students at the elementary level and another one for students at the middle school level.

ACE Elementary hosted Santa’s STEM Lab which took place at Bonham Elementary. At this Saturday camp, students had the opportunity to learn about 3D designing, Spheros, and even participated in a STEM escape room.

“Students were able to gain hands-on coding experience through play-based learning,” Bonham Elementary ACE Coordinator Sarah Rodriguez said. “They were able to complete an obstacle course using the Spheros EDU application. They also participated in an escape room where they had to collaborate on different challenges including building a sleigh for Santa. Students also participated in a 3D creations class where they learned about the engineering design process and were able to use a 3D pen to create their very own Christmas ornament, a tree or a star.”

Students from Bonham Elementary, Crockett Elementary, Lamar Elementary Dual Language Academy, Long Elementary, and Rodriguez Elementary STEM Academy were invited to participate in this event.

“My favorite part was using the 3D pens; it was so cool,” Bonham Elementary fifth-grader Aleeyah Diaz said. “We made an ornament and I actually put it on my Christmas tree at home. It was really fun, and I would like to do other fun activities like that.”

Students at the middle school level had an opportunity to participate in their very own camp, named DeSTEMber Fest, which took place at Gutierrez Middle School Arts and Sciences. Through this academy, students learned about rocketry, 3D printing, and also participated in a STEM escape room.

“Students had the opportunity to learn how to build, launch, and land a rocket,” Gutierrez Middle School ACE Coordinator Amanda Sandoval said. “Students learned how to design and print 3D objects while using TinkerCad. They also participated in a STEM-based escape room in which they had to save astronauts in outer space. They had to use math and common-sense skills to solve each puzzle.”

Students from Coakley Middle School, Gutierrez Middle School of Arts & Sciences, Memorial Middle School, Vela Middle School, and Vernon Middle School World Languages Academy were invited to take part in this STEM camp.

“My favorite part was the escape room because I love doing hard work and questions,” Gutierrez Middle School sixth-grader Giovanni Cato said.

The HCISD ACE program strives to provide opportunities for students that allows them to learn new skills and enhance their current ones.

“It’s really motivating and inspiring seeing our students participate in Saturday STEM academies,” ACE Project Director Jesus Saldivar said.  “They have the opportunity to learn new skills while collaborating with students from other ACE centers within our district.  None of this could’ve been possible without the amazing staff that works diligently to ensure our students are engaged in new learning experiences.”


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