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What if students could apply what they're learning in the classroom to something in the real world? Third graders are doing just that! In this study, students are using their math and map reading skills to calculate the space of their future fourth-grade classrooms.

Using blueprints of the new building, students are figuring out the square feet of the new rooms. This involves calculating and converting the scale of the blueprints to the actual dimensions. Students will later use this skill to figure the square feet of their current room. They will also consider the FFE, furniture, fixtures, and equipment, of the new Lower School.

"Students will think not just about the desks and chairs that they will need, but also consider how their choices could impact others," said Lab Coordinator Mike Cogliandro. "Should the Pre-K chairs and desks be the same size as fourth grade? Why or why not?"

After a successful introduction in 2017-18, the What if Lab opened full time this year. Cogliandro partners with all Lower School students and teachers and meets with each of the elementary class at least twice a month, depending on the unit of study.

Some examples of previous projects:

  • Second-grade students created working compasses out of cork, sewing needles, and magnets during their study of explorers.
  • Fourth graders made working, pumping hearts out of plastic bottles, straws, and balloons during their study of the heart.
  • Students learned basic robotic programming using Dash robots with a block-based programming app on an iPad.

Students also enjoy the opportunity to create using the 3D printer and, coming soon (with the help of Mr. Cogliandro!), the laser cutter.

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