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WVU Extension Services assemble STEM kits for kids

Let’s do launch.

A selection of breakfast and lunch meals going out today for the Feed Mon Kids nutrition program will contain some STEM-food for thought, as well.

The WVU Extension Service is including some 350 ready-to-assemble catapult kits for youngsters — as part of its ongoing science, technology, engineering and math initiative, in the face of the pandemic.

Said kits consist of Popsicle sticks, a plastic spoon, rubber bands and the like.

What emerges is a small-scale, kid-friendly version of the ballistic, projectile-flinging device that dates back to the medieval days.

The DIY catapults have a payload of, say, a mini-marshmallow.

Or, a small, foam sphere known as a “pom-pom” that usually comes standard with a kit.

Just as well, Becca Fint-Clark said.

She’s the Extension agent and youth development officer who helped organize Wednesday’s shipment.

Of course, she doesn’t want a budding catapult-engineer launching something in the direction of his kid brother or the puppy, she said.

“It’s our mission to educate,” she said.

“Normally, we’d be out in the classrooms, but we can’t do that right now.”

But if you can combine science and engineering with a sandwich, she mused, well, why not do that?

And whether your catapult is lashed by Feudal ropes or rubber bands, science and engineering are most definitely involved.

Newtonian physics.
Gravity, and all that.
A crash-course — pun intended — on fulcrums and kinetic energy and how a catapult won’t work without both.

Fint-Clark packed the catapults Wednesday with the help of Extension staffers Linda Atkins and Joeline Swann.

Atkins is an administrative assistant and Swann handles nutritional outreach.

Next week, with the help of Southern States, the trio extends its tendrils of learning into the very soil of the Mountain State.

A total of 700 seed packets will go out with Feed Mon Kids meals, along with the weekly offering from Pantry Plus More, an area food bank that also works with county schools and families.

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