‘Innovation Station’ a place for students to creatively explore technology and engineering.

Aug 22, 2016 by

— A space where students can test the limits of their imaginations and creatively explore technology and engineering has opened in an unused basement room at the Civic Center library branch.

The “Innovation Station” is modeled on Qualcomm’s Thinkabit Lab and created through a collaboration of the technology giant, the Chula Vista Elementary School District and the city of Chula Vista.

It’s not the first Thinkabit-inspired learning lab in the district. An engineering lab at Feaster Charter School received the Qualcomm stamp of approval last December when the company announced it would bring the concept it created in its Sorrento Valley corporate headquarters to three schools in the county — Feaster, Lewis Middle School in the San Diego Unified School District and the Vista Innovation and Design Academy in the Vista Unified School District.

With its patchwork of brightly colored floor tiles and work stations designed for partnering on projects, the new Innovation Station is a mix of arts and engineering where the district’s sixth-graders learn about robotics and high-tech jobs using a variety of tools and materials.

“It’s really cool to see what they come up with,” said district engineering teacher Michael Bruder, who heads the program. “And it’s interesting to see how the groups work together. It’s important they get hands-on exposure to this — not just sitting at a screen — that they get to make something. This gives them a taste of engineering that might light up something in them.”

Classes of sixth-graders have been in the lab since Aug. 1, and the Innovation Station officially opened yesterday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The sixth-graders from each of the district’s 45 schools will get to spend at least one day in the lab this school year exploring high-tech careers and learning to code an open-source electronics platform called Arduino that allows them to design a prototype that is part robot, part diorama during a 5 ½-hour session.

Students use arts and crafts supplies to build an interactive scene on a large square of board and hook up a centerpiece that spins according to the code they’ve programmed using a laptop computer.

Sara Banaszek, 11, from Clear View Elementary, had finished her project Monday afternoon when she noticed the team across from her couldn’t get theirs working.

Source: ‘Innovation Station’ a place for students to creatively explore technology and engineering. | SanDiegoUnionTribune.com

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