Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The L.D. Batchelder Imagination Studio

Chris Lindsay
Digital Learning Specialist, L.D. Batchelder School, North Reading Public Schools

The L.D. Batchelder School's Makerspace (named The Imagination Studio by a fifth grade student) officially opened in the fall of 2017. This initiative was spearheaded by a team of Batch teachers, who are passionate about the maker movement and bringing additional engineering challenges to our students. They, along with all the faculty members, feel it is so important to prepare children for their future careers by giving them additional opportunities to think outside the box, to work as a team, and to experience the engineering design process, as they attempt to solve real world problems. We are so appreciative of the Batch BPO for funding many items, such as the 3D printer, in this space.

During the current school year every K-5 student will have the opportunity to experience at least three different challenges in The Imagination Studio during their weekly Digital Learning time. The first challenge took place in October. Ms. Nancy Boudreau, first grade teacher, came up with a real world problem relating to giant pumpkin contests. The challenge was to design a lift for the farmers to get their giant pumpkins to the fair. Here are two designs created by 2nd and 3rd grade students:

This was not an easy challenge. Teams needed to use the design thinking process, as they brainstormed with their partner. They developed a prototype, tested this prototype and made improvements to their design. The classroom teachers and I were so impressed with the creativity and the perseverance that the students demonstrated. With every challenge, students are becoming more confident and capable and we look forward to seeing their original designs during the winter and spring challenges.