Elementary aged children sit around a table working on a science craft.

The Lincoln Academy takes PBS KIDS learning to a new level

June 2, 2023 Tawny Morrison Leave a Comment

This spring at the Lincoln Academy in Beloit, scholars in the Play and Learn with PBS KIDS Club met once a week after school. They learned about science, technology, engineering, art and math concepts through PBS KIDS videos and activities. The eight-week program, offered to first through third graders, was developed and led by second grade teacher Cally Baroni and educational assistant Ayanna Smith.

Two elementary aged children sit on the floor next to a science project. One child holds a car at the top of a slanted board, ready to release the car. The other child turns and smiles at the camera.

Club participants investigate how friction is impacted by the properties of different materials.


Baroni was inspired after a professional learning session held by PBS Wisconsin Education.

“I was blown away by how many free resources are available to teachers that we can incorporate in our classroom and all the different topics. My first question was, how can we incorporate this into our school? Maybe an after-school club would be a great way to use these free resources.” 

Baroni and Smith developed the club with support from PBS Wisconsin Education and Laura Benisch, Lincoln Academy Director of Career Planning and Partnerships.

Two children stand outside, each with a piece of paper in hand. They are on a scavenger hunt.

Scholars work on a nature scavenger hunt together.


Each club meeting started with a snack and a PBS KIDS video related to the STEAM activity of the day. Scholars explored topics including friction, rockets, engineering and art.

“We made paper rockets and then talked to the scholars about: how does a rocket launch and how do our paper rockets launch,” Smith said.

They paired the activity with a clip from the PBS KIDS show Ready Jet Go! Learners enjoyed being able to connect to the PBS KIDS shows they already watch at home. 

The response to the club was overwhelmingly positive.

“I’ve met scholars that I didn’t know before, and they’ll see us in the hallway and be like, ‘Miss Baroni, what are we doing at PBS Club this week?’” Baroni said. “We’ve also had parents respond that the scholars go home and talk about how fun it was. So hearing those comments from families, how much their own children are enjoying this extra hour a week, that’s pretty rewarding.” 

Three elementary aged children sit at a classroom table. They are painting.

Scholars made a glue and dish soap mixture to paint window decals. The decals prevent migrating birds from attempting to fly into windows.


Baroni and Smith are grateful for the resources and support provided by PBS Wisconsin Education.

“I know the kids are grateful for the opportunity as well because we have elementary, middle and high school all in the same building. Middle school and high school, they have after-school clubs. So now that elementary is getting an after-school club, it’s really special for them,” Smith said.

To learn more about free PBS KIDS resources educators can use in early learning spaces, visit the PBS Wisconsin Education early learning page.

1 thought on “The Lincoln Academy takes PBS KIDS learning to a new level”

  • This after-school learning is a BIG plus. At this age, kids really love to learn. I think more schools participating in this kind of fun learning would be phenomenal. It could very well help kids get interested in their grownup careers. My question is about the kids getting home. Was there a bus to take them home or did their parents need to take them home?

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