A Friday afternoon in the newly named Creation Lab is a sight to behold! If you walk in you would be stopped in your tracks by the members of the Middle School Maker Club, each focusing intently on self-driven projects. You would see students engaging in activities ranging from programming a Raspberry pi, building robots, coding micro-controllers, woodworking, designing stickers, making buttons, and engineering buildings out of popsicle sticks. “Seeing the space fulfill its mission of providing a place for students to use their creativity as the main tool is pure magic,” says Vanessa Miller, Director of the Creation Lab. Lucy, a 6th Grade Maker Club member loves being a participant because she has “the opportunity to be creative with different materials while learning something new each day.”
Fostering intellectual curiosity across all curricula is an integral part of the RSS mission. The Creation Lab implements this component of our mission by providing students with a new learning environment in which materials and tools have been placed at their disposal for the sole purpose of “creating.” For 8th grader Asher, “the Creation Lab is [his] favorite place in the school because anything is possible.” Enthusiasm for the Creation Lab transcends the school’s divisions. 2nd grader Sienna has had two classes in the Creation Lab and says she feels “free in the space because I can make whatever I want.”
Class time in The Creation Lab features traditional lessons mixed with time for experimentation. The goal is for students to learn benchmark skills like 3D Design, project prototyping, basic woodworking, programming and engineering that they can then apply to a variety of projects. By blending together these different disciplines, students can carve a pathway of interests for themselves while overcoming the fear of failure, developing grit, and learning how to experiment with new ideas.
The Creation Lab is a center for cross-curricular and divisional projects alongside scheduled class time for each grade. Students are provided with differentiated learning opportunities and every student has a chance to thrive and play to their own strengths. RSS faculty are just as excited about the Creation Lab; a recent Middle School faculty meeting was held in the space and by the end of the session, light-up pins were made, and ideas for new Chanukah projects had been conceived.
It’s been several months since the Creation Lab opened its doors, and it is already making a mark on the culture and community at RSS. Every Tuesday at 7:15 am, the Creation Lab hosts Maker Mornings for Middle School students to have additional time in the space – and just recently 4th graders have been invited to join in on the fun! Additionally, Middle School students have been asked to submit entries for a Creation Lab logo contest – who doesn’t have a logo these days? Stay tuned to see the amazing projects coming out of the Creation Lab and, of course, the chosen logo as well.