CMB brings engineering concepts to Garriga and Derry Elementary

Reina Salinas, principal of Garriga Elementary, tests her car with other fifth grade students. Photo by Angie Gamez.

Angie Gamez
Special to the Press

The Children’s Museum of Brownsville (CMB) brought its LEGO Mini Makers Studio engineering activity to first and fifth graders at Derry Elementary on February 20 and Garriga Elementary on February 21. The program’s purpose is to “spark an interest in Science and Engineering with a fun, hands-on, fully participatory in-school field trip.”  

The atmosphere at Derry and Garriga Elementary auditoriums was a frenzy of excitement when hundreds of Lego bricks were unveiled to the students. 

The CMB Mini Maker’s Studio program is “TEKS aligned and requires students to use their imagination to create a car design, record their data, and use critical thinking skills in order to redesign their cars.” Students were diligent in following instructions and eager as they approached the ramps in hopes of their cars traveling further and further each time they redesigned their models. The goal was to create a car that would travel 25 feet.

From left: Amy Tygrett, Education and Experience Manager, Children’s Museum of Brownsville; Teri Alarcon, PIISD Superintendent; Maribel Valdez, Principal, Derry Elementary; and, 7-year old Tristan Sandoval, first grade winner (car traveled 17 feet). Photo by Angie Gamez.

In the fall of 2019, PIISD partnered with the Children’s Museum of Brownsville (CMB) to develop a grant that would provide Lego stem activities to elementary school students. The Moody Foundation awarded the grant to the Children’s Museum of Brownsville.  As a result, the CMB brought the LEGO Mini Makers Studio engineering activity to Point Isabel Independent School District (PI-ISD) elementary schools.

“We have many partners in education,” Theresa Alarcon, PI-ISD superintendent said. “We partnered with the CMB and it’s great when we can partner beyond our district. It shows great educational collaboration.”

Amy Tygrett, education and experience manager for CMB, further explained their partnerships with school districts, namely in Brownsville.

“The CMB has provided educational activities to over 30 elementary schools in the Brownsville Independent School District (BISD),” Tygrett said. “We focus on first and fifth graders because we want them to grow, to change and develop and to be able to see their progress over the years.” 

Students followed a two-step process when building their cars. First, the base was built (foundation and wheels) and tested. The next step was building the entire car.

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