If you can imagine it, you can create it in the Learning Commons! Exposing students to hands-on, highly engaging STEAM activities will immerse them in exploring, discovering and learning and will help ensure their success in the future. Getting to make and create will transform our students from consumers into makers and give everyone the opportunity to see the world around them differently, to explore and imagine new possibilities for a future they help create. Our school is identified as a bilingual campus with a diverse student population, more than 60% of whom are considered at-risk. Many of our students and their families tend to have a high rate of mobility, causing them to exhibit gaps in either background knowledge and/or academic achievement. Generally speaking, our students struggle with content knowledge and are further hindered by a lack of experience in problem-solving and critical thinking. During his 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama called attention to the dwindling pool of future U.S. innovators and emphasized the importance of young Americans entering careers in Science, Technology, Engineering,Rrts or Math (STEAM). Industry groups are also calling on schools to graduate more engineers while fostering educators with innovation-based skills to help the future workforce qualify for the Science, Technology, and Math fields that are projected to grow in the coming years. Education must shift from instruction to discovery...to probing and exploration." This quote from Marshall McLuhan explains the way our Learning Commons works. Our students learn best through independent discovery and creating things themselves. Giving students opportunities to make and create will transform them from consumers into makers and will foster their sense of creativity and wonder. By providing these experiences to our students, we can prepare them to be the engineers, inventors, and scientists of the 21st Century. We are closing the achievement gap between economically disadvantaged students and their peers by providing them with the same opportunities. The Learning Commons will immerse students in those STEAM skills.
Funded by Plano, TX (April 2015)