Saunders County Extension & 4-H STEM Backpacks are available for checkout!

These backpacks are provided by the University of Nebraska Lincoln in cooperation with Beyond School Bells FREE of charge.  We do ask that you complete a short survey following completion of the activity.  Many of the backpacks contain books in English and Spanish and all contain instructions in both English and Spanish.

Backpacks available for a 14 day check out include:


Participants will learn how a tornado forms and be able to demonstrate a tornado's spinning motion by creating a tornado in a bottle.

Books included (Both English and Spanish versions):
Elephant Wind: A Tornado Safety Book by Heather L Beal (Reading level 3-8 years old)
Tornadoes! by Gail Gibbons (Reading level PK-3)

Kit includes all supplies except water.
Estimated time: 45 minutes


Participants will learn how and why a volcano erupts.  Participants will get to demonstrate volcanic eruptions by creating a chemical reaction.

Books included:
The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top: A Book about Volcanoes by Gail Herman (Reading level PK-3) - both English and Spanish
Volcanoes by Martha E.H. Rustad (Reading level PK-2) - English only

Kit includes all supplies except dishwashing liquid (1 teaspoon) and warm water.
Estimated time: 1 hour

Food for Animals

Participants will learn what different animals eat to survive.  Participants will get to dissect an owl pellet.

Books included:
Owling: Enter the World of the Mysterious Birds of the Night by Mark Wilson (Reading level 4th - 6th) - English only
What Do Animals Eat?: Animal Appetite ABC's by Bonnie Banks-Beers (Reading level 3rd - 4th) - English only
National Geographic Illustrated Guide to Wildlife: From Your Back Door to the Great Outdoors (Reading Level 7th & up) - English only

Kit includes all supplies.
Estimated time is 1 hour.


Participants will identify parts of a flower and pollinate a plant with an artificial bee.

Books included:
Henry Meets a Honey Bee by Justin Ruger (Reading level 1st-5th) - English only
Explore My World: Honey Bees by Jill Esbaum (Reading level PK-2nd) - English only
Bees by Laura Marsh (Reading level 1st-3rd) - English and Spanish
Beekeeping for Beginners: How to Raise your First Bee Colonies by Amber Bradshaw (Reading level 7th & up) - English only

Kit includes all supplies.
Estimated time is 1.5 hours.

Engineer It!

Participants will identify steps in the engineering design process and design a device to float a marble.

Books include:
Emma Ren: Robot Engineer by Jenny Lu (Reading level 4-10 years) - English only
I Want to Be an Engineer by Laura Driscoll (Reading level PK-2) - English only
The Fascinating Engineering Book for Kids: 500 Dynamic Facts! by Dr. Jacie Maslyk (reading level 4th - 6th) - English only

Kit includes all supplies, but you will need access to a sink or bathtub.
Estimated time is 1.5 hours.

Let's Be an Engineer

Participants will identify characteristics needed to be an engineer.  Participants will build a clipmobile and learn more about what an engineer does.

Books include:
Rosie Rever, Engineer by Andrea Beaty (Reading level K-2) - BOTH English and Spanish
How to be an Engineer by Carol Vorderman (Reading level 7-9 year) - English only

Kit includes all supplies except for a piece of cardboard.
Estimated time is 45 minutes.

To check out a backpack, fill out the form here.

Survey can be found here.