Assumption Parish Grade School started the 2016-2017 school year with a new Innovation Lab for all students, providing the latest in 21st century technology and designed with beautiful, yet functional modern décor that can be reconfigured depending upon the lesson being taught.
“The space, furniture and equipment gives our students access to the latest technology, while building their skills in critical thinking and problem-solving, communication and collaboration and creativity and innovation,” Jill Magoc, the school’s STEM/computer teacher and technology coordinator, stated in a news release.
With the transition of the computer lab into the new Innovation Lab, the computer curriculum is also changing, according to the release. To reflect these changes, Assumption decided to change the name from computer class to STEM, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics, class.
The previous computer class curriculum concentrated on using the computer as a tool for learning. This year, STEM class will incorporate project-based learning to explore science, technology, programming, engineering and math.
Students will learn about circuits, input and output devices while they go through a process to create, design, test and redesign their own inventions. Students will use Lego EV3 Robots and Lego Wedo to build and program robots that incorporate the use of touch, infrared and color sensors.
They will learn coding in a simple and fun process using Dash & Dot robots. Using Bloxels, they will be able to create and share their own video games by combining hands-on building with digital editing. All of these activities will help the students develop their creative confidence, apply knowledge to solving problems and encourage teamwork.
In June, Assumption held its first “Mattis Downs Mouse Races” to raise the funds needed to realize the school’s vision for the Innovation Lab. The evening’s festivities generated nearly $18,000. Since then, the outpouring of generosity continues, according to the release.
“We are blessed that so many people came together to make this happen. Not only did our school families contribute to this cause, both with their time and talents and financially, but non-school families and parishioners also supported this initiative,” Assumption Principal Jenn Sykora stated. “If it were not for the generosity of many people, we couldn’t have done it. I’m so excited that our students are now engaged in STEM activities in a state-of-the-art learning space.”