Oak Mountain Elementary Opens New Innovation Station

Innovation Station at OMES Photo
Students playing with Code-A-Pillar Photo

Students playing with Code-A-Pillar in the new OMES Innovation Station.

Oak Mountain Elementary School students are now enjoying a new state-of-the-art STEM Innovation Station thanks to a $78,159 Toolbox for Education grant from the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation.

The Innovation Station has a full-scale kitchen with both large and small appliances, multiple types of robotics, Legos/maker space activities, a Chromebook cart, 3-D printers, OSMO coding system to be used on iPads and an interactive whiteboard which will be used to meet the STEM standards. 

“While we have almost completed the lab, we still have a few finishing touches to make, including a new mural for the Innovation Station,” said Principal Debbie Horton.  “We also have a little bit of money left to spend.”

Horton said teachers have been trained on the various technology that was purchased for the Innovation Station.  Teachers are currently using a schedule to take their classes to the new STEM lab regularly to utilize the various components of the lab to teach Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) standards.

OMES Innovation Station Kitchen Photo “In the kitchen area they will be able to complete science standards with experiments, math standards of measurement by baking, following the directions of a recipe and so much more,” said Horton. “They will be able to create, problem-solve, and design structures with Legos.  Technologies that will be utilized in the Innovation Station are Bee-Bots, Osmos and Spheros, Dash and Dot to name a few.  Students can code using Chromebooks and iPads.  The possibilities for creating, designing, implementing the engineering standards and delving deeper into science and math standards are unlimited.  We hope to really open up the opportunities for students to see how fun Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics can be!”

Oak Mountain Elementary teachers who have already utilized the new space are as excited as the
students about the learning opportunities that await.
“I am in love with Bee-Bots and used them last year as a math game. My students were already excited about creating their own review games using the Bee-Bots,” said third-grade teacher Lindsay Adams.  “They were also really excited about the kitchen area and Lego table. I have many students who are interested in how different things work and I think they are most excited about building things and creating working systems to actually visualize ‘how things work’.”
Adams said at first she thought it was going to be a little overwhelming with 21 students all wanting to try the new technology. “But they were fully engaged with wide eyes as I explained the new technology and equipment. All of my students were asking ‘What are we using first, Ms. Adams?'” she said.
Ferris Smith, a second-grade teacher said it is thrilling for the children to have a place in the school to go for innovation opportunities.
“We went for the first time this week and I was blown away by the way they were learning and teaching their peers about technology and engineering,” Smith said. “The fact that they are programming machines to follow paths and building towers with magnetic linking blocks at this age is so exciting!”
Smith said her students are also very excited about the chance to cook in the kitchen. “There are just so many ways for them to stretch their brains in the STEAM Lab. I am so thankful that we have this place of learning for our students,” she said.


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