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Let’s Build It Club Encourages Tinkering


It seemed like magic in the 1980s commercial for The Clapper light, but Pine Island Elementary students took just minutes to make their own “Clap On, Clap Off” devices that create music.

Fifth-graders Evan Brooks and Joe Drake snapped pieces into a grid in their electronic snap circuit kit. They clapped, and it played the tune of “Happy Birthday.” They clapped again, and it stopped.

The students are learning about engineering in the weekly Let’s Build It club at the Comstock Park Public Schools third-through-fifth grade building where they learn about electricity, music, capacitors and other cool aspects of electrical engineering.

“I’m really fascinated with all this stuff, like electric waves working together,” Evan said.

The club is an after-school enrichment program at the third-through-fifth-grade school, offered through the company Afterschool Enrichment Solutions. Pine Island is also offering Stage Stars Drama Club through the company, and they plan to offer Spanish and Chess clubs.

“I just thought it would be a neat opportunity for something a little different than an after-school academic program, something more fun for the students, just to spark their interest in some other things,” said Principal Stacy Reehl.

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

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