Newport News Public Schools TV and the Telecommunications Center

instructor teaching children

NNPS-TV staff spent some time with summer camp students at Hines Middle School, guiding them in a lesson in storytelling so they would have a strong foundation for their coding project.

The students, rising eighth graders, were participating in a three-week STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) camp. The NNPS-TV team, consisting of Station Manager Jim Anklam and Producer Nik Long, worked with two groups of students.

The camp is one of the NNPS enrichment camps for rising third- through 12th-grade students. The idea is to engage and challenge students with activities that inspire creativity and critical thinking skills.

Kevin Nelhuebel, STEM Instructional Specialist (Secondary 6-12), asked the team early on if they could share their expertise with the students attending the camp.

The goal was for the students to program Hummingbird robots (simple robotics kits for children) to act out a story. But coming up with the story takes time, creativity, logic, and decision-making.

The TV team led the students in brainstorming ideas for the robot's story, and provided them with a structure in which to work.

Anklam teaches a similar lesson to his college students at Christopher Newport University, where he is Professor of Film Studies (English Department).

He provided them with a form to fill out and ideas to use, so that the students had a setting, a character, a one-word description, a goal, an obstacle, and an ending.

With that, they could then create a story with a beginning, a middle, and an ending.

"Jim did a great job," said Long, who assisted with the sessions, "making a custom presentation about how to tell a story."

The students watched a clip from the movie WALL-E, which features a robot that doesn't talk but manages to convey emotion by its actions. The students will be programming their robots in a similar way.

NNPS-TV plans to go back to get footage of the students using their robots to act out the story they created.