Juneau County Star Times: Teachers at Olson Middle School have found ways to unlock students’ creative spirit that doesn’t involve sitting behind a desk.
On Monday, OMS held an open house to unveil its Makerlab, the brainchild of teachers Matt Regan, Kendal Sass, Bryon Hoehn and Jen Holberg. About a year ago, the teachers had an idea of converting an underutilized computer lab connected to the middle school’s library into a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) lab. Through STEM, students can learn through an interdisciplinary and applied approach.
With help from the Mauston School District, teachers received an instructional leadership grant and the OMS Makerlab was born. The lab opened at the beginning of the school year. Hoehn said the lab is gaining in popularity, with sixth graders heavily involved in the creative format.
“The biggest thing is that it allows the kids to figure out concepts by themselves,” Hoehn said.
Through technology and science, students learn how to solve complex problems through experimentation. Hoehn said it teaches kids to forge ahead even when a project becomes daunting. Since the launch of the Makerlab, students have collaborated to build projects, improving communication, creativity and critical thinking skills. Educators at OMS hope the lab will increase 21st Century skills-based learning opportunities for their students.