Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School prides itself on staying on the cutting edge of educational practices.
The school was the first in Huntington UFSD to open a makerspace; a collaborative workspace inside the building dedicated to creative learning. The makerspace was filled with largely “low tech” everyday items with the goal of having teachers schedule time in the space when it fit with other curriculum requirements. That was more than two years ago.
Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School Principal Donna Moro.
“That first exploration into the world of hands-on learning has evolved in the past three years into what is now the Jack Abrams Innovation Lab,” Principal Donna Moro said. “The difference is not just in the name. Today the Innovation Lab is equipped with stat of the art technology (3D printing, coding, robotics and electronics) along with low tech items, but the real innovation is in the development of a robust curriculum that is the foundation to our goal of provide a STEM infused project based learning experience.”
A team of teachers and administrator developed grade level projects aligned with the social studies and science curriculum in an effort to develop a curriculum. “These interdisciplinary projects involve exploring real world problems and challenge students to think critically,” Ms. Moro said. “This type of hands on learning linked to real world experiences is the ultimate in creating highly engaging learning experiences.”
Every Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School student has a scheduled period in the Innovation Lab each week. “Instruction for these activities and projects are co-taught with the student’s classroom teacher and a teaching assistant that is dedicated to the Innovation Lab,” Ms. Moro said. “Time in the Innovation Lab is built into the teachers schedule like other special area content like art, music and physical education.”
The more than 500 fourth, fifth and sixth graders are enjoying their time in the new lab. “It is inspiring to see students actively working with their peers, challenging each other’s ideas and developing problem solving skills beyond those often found in a traditional classroom,” Ms. Moro said. “The access to hands-on learning is impactful for all students and we are thrilled to offer our students the opportunity to build skills they will undoubtedly use in the future.”