Elizabeth Reitzig is a senior at Silver Creek High School and a student intern with the Communications Department.
The StVrainnovation Mobile Lab is out again visiting St. Vrain’s elementary schools, and facilitating opportunities for students to engage in design-thinking challenges, explore robotics, and visit engineering stations.
In conjunction with the Design Guild, the Mobile Lab provides students with five design challenges that they can take home. “The Design Guild is a program created between the Mobile Lab and Innovation Academy, which is a St. Vrain summer program taught in partnership with IBM,” says Kristen Brohm, program manager of the Design Guild. “We are creating STEM-based curriculum through a design-thinking lens to share with students, staff, and families within our St. Vrain community to engage and empower students and to provide connection during the pandemic.”
The Design Guild challenges give students the chance to submit prototypes after learning about a topic, such as health, transportation, and media communications. The health challenge, which prompts students to design a prototype that would improve the functionality of their school’s health office, awards the top prototype creators funds to integrate their ideas at school.
Students walk through the Mobile Lab before exploring various stations set up outside the Lab. While touring the bus, students receive the design challenge packet to take home. As Brohm notes, “By creating this packet of information, along with the design kits that students get to work on at home, we are really including parents in the learning process and enabling them to understand more of what we’re doing in the classroom and why we’re doing it. They get to see the benefit firsthand.”
In addition to the educational benefits of the Mobile Lab events, the visits have also given families and staff members of St. Vrain a chance to connect with one another during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Danny Ford, shop manager at the Innovation Center and instructor on the Mobile Lab team, says, “The Mobile Lab is unique in the sense that it connects staff, kids, and the St. Vrain community as a whole. Even though, as a district, we aren’t back to full-time learning, we are bringing something to students that they really miss. There are many kids who haven’t been able to do something like this in months, or even a year.”
Colin Rickman, the Mobile Lab Coordinator, adds that “We were very intentional about making sure this would be a community event. We wanted families there with their kids, learning. We wanted teachers, principals, and staff to be involved. One thing that we’ve learned from the Mobile Lab is that it brings people together. We’ve been so appreciative that people have come out to see us.”
“We’ve seen a lot of success in the three weeks that we’ve been out and about. At the five schools we’ve attended, we’ve seen more than 1,000 people attend the events collectively.”
More information about the Mobile Lab is available on their website, and schools may visit the site to register for a Lab event.