As standardized testing continues to expand in our schools, time spent being active, creating and exploring is being replaced with more time sitting at a desk. While this is still important for students, it is equally, if not more important that we nurture their love of questioning, exploring and creating. If we fail to do so, students become so caught up in being right or wrong, they stop wondering “what if”. The typical school library allows students to explore and research through the written word, but with Luther Elementary’s Innovation or STEAM Lab, we are transforming our library into a facility where students can explore and question in a variety of ways.
The Innovation Lab helps inspire students to learn through doing; to uncover talents, interests, and passions by making, solving, collaborating, thinking, creating, failing and trying again. The lab incorporates science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM). Students have opportunities to work in our lab during their rotation in their library class time, lunch recess and other designated times. Four to six stations are available with them rotating in and out monthly. Some stations include Dash the Robot, Ozobots, Stick Together art, puzzles, Lego challenges, electronic circuits, K’Nex, green screen animation, play-doh creations, Osmos, coloring, science experiments, and building and creating out of recycled materials. Our staff also has the option to collaborate with Mrs. Westby, our librarian, to use the lab or the materials within it.
One of the projects students enjoys working on is the Makey Makey. This device allows students to turn everyday objects like the bananas into the touchpad that work through a computer program. Students watched several videos to figure out how this kit worked. They research the videos, find software that worked with the Makey Makey, hook up the system with the bananas, and test it out and troubleshoot to make sure it is successful. The process incorporated research skills, engineering, trial and error, science, design, and art.
For more information about the Luther STEAM Lab, please contact Kim Westby at Luther Elementary!