two kids at a table with a circular robot. one child showing a shocked emotion with hands on face and other child wears a face covering looking at other kid.


after school students listening to reading of a very hungry caterpillar

Students enjoyed three days of activities including programming a robot and a very special reading of The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

In celebration of National STEM/STEAM day on November 8th, children from the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA’s Before & After School Enrichment program participated in a STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts and Math) activity at Anderson Elementary. 

The fun started with the unlikely combination of programmable robotic devices (roamers) and The Very Hungry Caterpillar children’s book by Eric Carle. The activity integrated coding and literacy, allowing the students to create their own caterpillar, which was attached to a roamer that they then coded to “eat” the very hungry caterpillar’s favorite foods. 

“We’re extremely excited that we had the opportunity to partner with such great organizations to bring the STREAM event to the students of Anderson Elementary” said Sarah Hays, Vice President of Youth Enrichment for the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA. 

The activity was created by Dr. Stacy Hahn, Hillsborough County School Board member and STREAM advocate. “It’s a really exciting way to engage them (children) around activities, especially math and science, where they are doing the tasks and they don’t even realize they are learning those subject matters,” said Hahn, who then reached out to community partners to help make it happen. 

Stephie Holmquist Johnson, Ph.D. visited the school to teach the children about the roamers, which were on loan from the Tampa Housing Authority. Caspers Company stepped in to support as well, donating a brand new copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar to each child participating in the program. “One of the pillars of our giving hand in the community is education,” said Dustin Portillo, Director of Community Relations for Caspers Company. “Any way we can give back – we want to be a part of it.”