THE FWSU STORY: Using Self Direction to Solve Problems in GEMS Innovation Lab

This year, GEMS Innovation Lab has a choice class offering for middle school students to explore and design solutions for authentic problems using rapid prototyping. This is the second year GEMS has offered this type of innovative choice class to students. You can review last year’s blog post featuring the class here.

Students review rapid prototyping process.

Students review rapid prototyping process.

Rapid prototyping is the speedy creation of a full-scale model. The word prototype comes from the Latin words proto (original) and typus (model). Prototyping allows the student product designers to design and test their products efficiently avoiding time-consuming and costly production.

Student using sewing machine.

Student using a sewing machine to create a project.

GEMS Innovation Lab provides students with a variety of tools to use for rapid prototyping.

This course allows students to become creative, critical thinkers. Working in teams students develop communication skills to create a dialogue to solve problems. The course encourages students to encourage to move beyond their current methods of thinking and engage in new, innovative methods.

The co-teachers Eric Hadd and Dayle Payne, facilitate the students to be active in their learning through self-guided discussions, questions, and the design process. While both teachers provide guidance in student discussions and questioning, they avoid giving answers to all questions promoting self-direction.

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Students solving authentic problems in the innovation lab through rapid prototyping.

This innovative class allows students develop their inquiry skills, and to begin to engage in thinking more independently.

 

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