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Learners Make Connections to Core Content

Written by Bill Laurienti

Mrs. Pinegar, the TK–4 teacher at Saint Junipero Serra Catholic School, recently shared some experiences of teaching in this Rancho Santa Margarita, CA school.

“I’m always teaching something new and exciting. Students always come to me and are so excited because they ‘figured it out!’ With the SmartLab HQ, I am not restricted to just one subject. We incorporate science, history, math, reading, and writing in the lab. Here, the activities are open-ended, which allows the students to come up with their own outcome, or they can be solved multiple ways allowing the students to learn from their classmates. In the SmartLab HQ, students know it’s ok to mess up! This allows them to give their full effort knowing it might not turn out perfect the first time, and this helps to get all students involved during class.”

Mrs. Pinegar’s students shared how their experience in the SmartLab HQ is helping them make connections to core concepts.

“In math, we’re practicing coding and the coding activities we did in the SmartLab HQ helped me with my math class. I like that I was able to use my brain to solve the puzzles in the laser kit. There were different levels to choose from, and I worked my way up to the intermediate level. Then, I started creating my own mazes using lasers and mirrors. You can create a lot of different things using your imagination in the SmartLab.” —Varak K., 3rd Grade

“The SmartLab HQ has helped me become more comfortable in my other classes by letting me know that it’s ok to make mistakes and I will eventually get it just like I do in the SmartLab. I like that I can create my own designs for projects. We get introduced to new learning tools and then learn how to use them.” —Victoria J., 4th Grade

“I like the SmartLab HQ because I get to use my mind more. I can use my creativity to learn as I did with the Ozobot. I struggled to get one code for the first couple of days. I kept trying and once I got it, I was able to add even more codes to create a new fascinating maze. Also, when I learned how to make the instructions for the Ozobot maze it helped me make instructions for another class. —Gadsden R., 3rd Grade

“I really love the Creativity Lab (SmartLab HQ) because of the hands-on opportunities. It gives me (and other students) a different way to learn instead of it just being about solving an equation but can also be solved by exploration. There are a variety of opportunities for exploration and innovation. It allows for students to have a creative choice. Students are also reminded and understand that there are no wrong answers and no mistakes. It is a safe place to explore and learn.” —Talon C., 7th grade

“I love the collaboration aspect and that I get to explore and work with others to share ideas. I am excited about using our Homestyler Design Program to develop skills specific for the design of structures to make them not only functional but attractive.” —Emmerson K., 7th 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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