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Keeping Learners Engaged at Katherine Mecham Barney

Written by Bill Laurienti

Katherine Mecham Barney Elementary School in Queen Creek, AZ opened its SmartLab HQ in 2020.

“This year,” explains Principal Chasity Cruz, “our students have had the opportunity to attend, learn, and create in our SmartLab HQ. I love seeing the excitement on the students’ faces as they interact with coding, engineering, and 3D printing to name a few. The students love to show off their learning with other students, parents, and staff. We are so fortunate to have a SmartLab at KMBE!”

When asked about their experience in the SmartLab HQ, several students shared their favorite moments:

“My favorite part of the SmartLab was when I got to go on the computer and there was a sea background. We talked about habitats and used Pixie 4 to put a stingray sticker on the background.” —Adelene, 1st grade

“My favorite part of the SmartLab is that I have fun and it makes my brain smarter.” —Lukas, 2nd Grade

“I learned that there are many ways to save Mother Earth. I liked that we got to use Pixie 4 to do a presentation about saving the Earth.”—Rowan, 2nd Grade

“In the SmartLab I have learned to persevere through projects. I’ve learned if my design does not work on the first try, it takes many alterations and adjustments to get the design to work. It has also enhanced my classroom learning because it has taught me to solve problems. It’s also taught me to brainstorm ideas and problem-solve through tough questions and assignments.” —Gracey, 6th Grade

“My favorite part of being in the SmartLab is working together with my peers to achieve the goals we set. I enjoy challenges and the SmartLab lets me experience that. Also, the Smartlab has supported my main classroom experience by teaching me about energy and engineering.” —Katie, 6th Grade

“I loved the part when we did Ozobots because it combined coding and teamwork into one activity.” —Amelia, 6th Grade

Bill Laurienti

Bill Laurienti is a Content Marketing Specialist at Creative Learning Systems. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education (English) from Colorado Mesa University and a Master of Arts in Secondary Teaching from the University of California's Rossier School of Education. Bill came to CLS after 10 years in the secondary classroom. He believes SmartLabs are important tools for engaging unengaged students and helping them access careers they might not otherwise have imagined.

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