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Lower Schoolers Explore STEM+ in the Innovation Lab

By Cynthia Fordham

The Keim Center Innovation Lab has been thriving, providing project-based learning experiences for students from all three divisions.

Lower School classes are taking advantage of the space and equipment by working on a variety of design lessons. 

Kindergarten, first-grade and second-grade classes are reading “The Most Magnificent Thing,” “The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do” and “LARF” then, using elements of the stories, are designing their own models of objects and characters. Third-grade students are designing their own “ultimate” animals using animal adaptations and then sculpting their model. 

In fourth grade, students are completing the Pringle Challenge, where they have to design their own packaging for a single Pringle chip which can then be delivered via drone without sustaining damage to the contents. 

Fifth grade is taking on the challenge of using Google Sketchup to create a CAD floor plan of how the Lower School computer lab could be redesigned into an updated innovation space.

“The design thinking process brings a different type of learning that involves empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping, testing and implementing,” Fordham said. “For our Lower School students, the design unit is about asking questions, learning and understanding the needs of others, imagining and brainstorming, creating from ideas and building models, making the model better, and then presenting the final creation.  

“This design unit encourages innovative thinking, creative and meaningful problem solving, new perspectives, new experiences and, most of all, lots of interactions and partnerships.”

The Innovation Lab remains busy and continues to grow. Establishing these early learning experiences for students in Lower School lays the groundwork for embracing STEM+, project-based learning and design thinking throughout their years at Ravenscroft.

Featured Post

Learn about the opportunities Upper School students have to dig more deeply into topics around government and politics this post written by Phil Kantaros. 

The Keim Center for Innovation and Research

In 2018, the Library and Technology Center was reimagined to fit the evolving needs of our students. The Keim Center for Innovation and Research was born. Read the history of this project here