Ina Patel is a fourth grade teacher. The grant money will allow her to design an interactive, dynamic science/maker’s space for Lower School students. This space, called the Design Lab, will not only house traditional science equipment such as beakers, graduated cylinders, rulers, and eye droppers for our future biologists and physicists, but the new space will also be home to our aspiring engineers and design architects. The room will be equipped with a variety of tools and resources that lend themselves to design-thinking and inquiry-based learning experiences. Every teacher will utilize the room to expand or build lessons using the tools that will live in this space. The shelves and walls will be filled with any tool that will spark a child’s imagination to life—Legos, Lego boards, white boards, laptops, littleBits, Makey Makeys, 3-D printer, conductive thread, wooden blocks, pipe cleaners, glue, model clay, popsicles, recycled material, and so much more.
She wrote in her proposal, “The objective of the Design Lab is to teach our children how to be global leaders using 21st century skills. We want our students to gain a deeper understanding of the world, to think creatively and critically, to collaborate and share ideas, and to apply knowledge and create something innovative. . . .The materials for the Design Lab will encourage the students to recognize the importance of the design process as well as the importance of revising. Giving them an opportunity to play, to make mistakes, and to re-design is a skill they must learn in order to succeed in today’s world. The advent of technology and the Internet have made skills such as memorization and step-by- step experiments obsolete. We must teach our students the 21st century skills in order for them to succeed. The most tangible way to accomplish this goal is through hands-on experiences and the design process.”Click here to see the results of her Innovation Grant.