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Hackberry Hill Elementary Opens STEM SmartLab

Hackberry Hill Elementary opens STEM Lab
Posted on 09/10/2019
Hackberry students explore new STEM lab activitiesHackberry Hill Elementary students welcomed their new STEM SmartLab on Monday, September 9, 2019. Rolling out this new lab involved school renovations for redesigning space in an existing classroom and creating a new, shared space in the library. 

From the beginning, the STEM SmartLab was planned to go in an existing classroom that students had been using as an innovation space. Not wanting to give up this special space, Hackberry Hill engaged students to help decide how to remodel the library to create a new innovation space.

Last year's 4th graders were tasked with redesigning the library layout into a new, open collaborative space. Students conceptualized what the newly designed innovative space inside the library would look like, how the SmartLab and innovation spaces would work together, and how fellow students would use and benefit from the new lab equipment and library work spaces.  

Area in the library that was being taken up by a huge desk area with unused cabinets and shelving spaced was removed. This space was then filled in with new furniture and open area seating that invites student collaboration.
The check-out desk was moved to smaller table closer to the doors and another storage area room was converted to a testing area where students can quietly work on computer testing or one-on-one with teachers and paras. 

The STEM SmartLab moved into an existing room with new paint, including chalk board walls, a LEGO wall, and over-head projecting smartboards. The room has 5 student islands with 16 brand new Mac computers that sit on specially-designed tables that easily accommodate two students.

The room also includes a 3D printer, robotics units, tablets, Snap Circuits, KNEX, Legos and many other STEM-affiliated interactive devices that integrate with the Creative Learning Systems curriculum that offers hands-on, authentic learning in coding, robotics, 3D printing, mechanics, circuitry, animation, and more.

As new 5th graders for the 2019-2020 school year, they happily debuted the newly renovated library space and classroom SmartLab space on Friday, Sept 6.

This new STEM SmartLab is part of an elementary-through-high school STEM pathway roll-out. Hackberry Hill, Swanson, Thomson, and Secrest Elementary Schools, North Arvada Middle School and Arvada High School have already launched, or will soon begin building, their STEM SmartLabs under the same curriculum of Creative Learning Systems. This has been done with the intention that all students will have had several years of consistent STEM instruction and will graduate high school with 21st-century STEM skills and experience that can lead to a career in STEM.  

This STEM SmartLab was made possible by a generous grant from The Gill Foundation and the Jeffco Schools Foundation and in collaboration with Creative Learning Systems.

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