During the height of the pandemic in 2020 the elementary schools received top of the line STEM labs known as the the Discovery Centers. The Discover Centers were the collaboration of local foundations and businesses. The Estelle Yates Foundation, PY Foundation, HollyFrontier, Devon Energy, and the Chase Foundation worked together to bring the Cal Ripken Sr. STEM Lab to Artesia. The centers are equipped with products including Little Bits, Makey Makey, Stereo microscopes, OzoBots, Bee bots, 3D printers, grow lights for plants, and much more. The labs come with detailed lesson plans for teachers to use as they implement the lab products into their science curriculum.
The Discovery Centers took the better part of 2020 to set up and prepare for students thanks to the dedicated staff at each elementary school and to the work of the elementary science coordinators. The hard work paid off and the Discovery Centers began to host students in the fall of 2021. In the accompanying photos, Yucca 5th graders work with the lab product OzoBot. OzoBots operate through a unique color coding language that students write with markers into paths for the bots to follow. The bots perform different tasks based upon how students include the codes. 5th grade teacher, Desarae Pitts, included Ozobots in a holiday themed lesson called “How to Catch a Turkey.” She challenged her students to design and build traps to capture the Ozobot “turkeys” while creating a code for the bots to follow on their way to the trap.