Fueling Understanding Through Innovation
Pine Crest School educators believe that it is important for our students to develop an understanding of concepts through observation, inquiry, research, and discovery. The Zimmerman Family iLabs on our Fort Lauderdale campus and Mintz Family iLab on our Boca Raton campus are dedicated innovation spaces staffed by professional innovation specialists and equipped with high-tech, introductory, and manipulative materials.
Under the umbrella of The Zimmerman Family Innovation and Technology Institute, our innovation specialists work with students to:
- Inspire a passion for lifelong learning
- Develop an imaginative mind and design thinking skills
- Pursue their passions through hands-on exploration
- Use inquiry skills to problem-solve
- Question and think outside of the box
- Take risks and create
The specialists work with classroom teachers on lessons that guide students from play to purpose by harnessing student-driven creativity, innovation, and collaboration.
Each iLab is equipped with large, mobile whiteboards to facilitate idea sharing; 3D printers, software, and electronics; crafts, textiles, and sewing machines; tools and hardware, such as laser cutters and drill presses; and robotics equipment.
Examples of project-based learning that may take place in one of Pine Crest School's iLabs include:
Teachers may extend the understanding of the form and function of an animal cell by challenging students to design their own using 3D CAD software. The final product can be 3D printed.
Students may discover solutions to mathematical problems, like finding the least common multiple or by programming Arduino microprocessors to model mathematical properties, ultimately discovering solutions to different multiples. Then, teachers may challenge students to extend problems and create programs to discover and demonstrate even more complex solutions.
After reading motivational biographies about people who solved problems and did good for the world, students may be challenged to choose a problem they found meaningful and design a solution to that problem. Students can use the resources of the iLab to build prototypes of their solutions and hold a Make a Difference Fair to display their work for the school community.
After students complete a study of Ancient Egypt, they may extend their understanding of the concepts by constructing scale models of significant architectural objects, including pyramids, the Sphinx, and Cleopatra's Needle. In doing so, students connect more deeply with the content as well as learn to work with a variety of tools and materials, like using design software in combination with a laser cutter to design and fabricate construction materials.
Students may work in teams to write short plays to be performed in the target language. Then, in the iLab, the students may create the "set" for their play using a MinecraftEdu server, editing and coding voice overs in post production, essentially constructing, recording, and performing a production within Minecraft in the target language.