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ODU students helping Santa with STEM toys

One of the classrooms at ODU was turned into a toy workshop. Students made STEM toys for patients at CHKD's children's cancer and blood disorder center.

NORFOLK, Va. — Santa has some elves at ODU.

While they're not from the North Pole, ODU students turned one classroom into a toy workshop!

The industrial technology students were helping Santa with gifts for some special children in Norfolk.

They worked in groups to create 60 STEM toys over the course of a semester. 

Three types of toys were created: wooden tic-tac-toe with the letters "ODU," a 3-D printed cube made of more than 10 pieces and puzzles for younger children.

"The biggest challenge was making everything perfect. As a perfectionist myself, knowing these projects were going toward a specific purpose, it was like okay 'I want to make sure everythig is perfect.' So I think that was the hardest part," one student said.

The students said they wanted to help make age-appropriate toys that help teach visualization skills.

Students then boxed up the toys in special MerMADE STEM4Toys wrapped boxes that were designed and provided by the Slover Library Creative Studios.

"The outcome goal is for them to have the grade, but the other this also is to bring happiness to those kids in the holiday season," said Basim Matrood, a lecturer in the STEM Education and Professional Studies Department at ODU.

The toys then went off to the sleigh for delivery to patients at CHKD's Children's Cancer and Blood Disorder Center.

This is the 5th year that ODU students have helped make Christmas a little brighter for CHKD patients.

The program was founded by Petros Katsioloudis, professor and chair of STEM Education and Professional Studies. He collaborated with Matrood for the project. Matrood teaches the courses that produce the toys.

If you want to share in on the joy of the project, the Slover Library Creative Studio has created three 2-D laser engraved displays for the community to see the donated toys. They will be displayed in the ODU Education Building, the Slover Library and the CHKD Hospital in Norfolk.

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