STEM related fields will be the cornerstone of our economy in the years to come. We want our students to be able to play a prominent role in this economy. Therefore, in addition to the strong foundational skills our school prides itself on, we wanted an elective program that would help prepare our students with the skills that employers desire (and will desire). The Innovation Lab was founded on the following three principles:
- Students must be able to work collaboratively.
- Students must be able to solve problems and find information.
- Students must have an interest and/or exposure to STEM concepts.
And thus, our Innovation Lab was born. Grown from a small pilot project in 2013, in its current form it exists as a monthly 4th and 5th grade elective. Students give up their traditional lunch & recess program in order to come, twice per week, to the innovation space. In 4th grade, students are exposed to 3D design and printing activities. 5th graders have far more choices. They are able to continue learning about 3D design, traverse and create in virtual worlds, or program robots.
The future of the program lies in a larger space, offering an expanded program to more students. But, in whatever form it exists, the program will continue to offer students the foundational skills they need in order to be outstanding future employee and a productive citizens in an ever changing world.