Innovation & Technology Lab

Open Window School has a state of the art Middle School Innovation and Technolgy Lab (ITL) which incorporates the best aspects of maker spaces, including 3-D printing, laser engraving, soldering, and green screen technology. Students have weekly technology classes, but the ITL also serves as a resource room (similar to a library) where classes and individual students can come and work on projects that are fully integrated into other academic disciplines.

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES

Creativity and innovation: Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students apply existing knowledge to generate new products or processes and create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
 
Communication and collaboration: Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students interact and collaborate with peers, communicate information and ideas effectively using a variety of media and contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.
 
Critical thinking, problem solving and decision making: Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.  Students identify and define authentic problems for investigation and plan/manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
 
Technology operations and concepts: Students demonstrate sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations. Students transfer current knowledge to the learning of new technologies.

Fifth Grade Course Overview

 
Fifth grade begins with an introduction to the Middle School Innovation and Technology Lab to discover all the capabilities that exist and what some possibilities are. This is the year that many baseline technologies are explored to lay a foundation for deeper study throughout the middle school years.

A variety of quick, hands on, projects are completed to gain familiarity and certification on equipment and tools, such as, 2D and 3D design, laser engraving, 3D printing, photo printer, sticker printing, laminating, green screen filming, video editing, time lapse and stop motion filming, robotics, Raspberry Pi Computers, Python programming, sensors, LEDs and motor control.

Students engrave laptop bag tags, design and 3D print articulated action figures to star in a stop motion, feature animation. They learn about how robots sense the environment and take action, based on their programming while building a Python powered robot. Sound effects and music are created using SonicPI. Minecraft landscapes are created and modified by writing Python code. Finally, web servers, HTML5 and CSS3 are used to develop their very own websites.

Seventh Grade Course Overview

Seventh grade students learn to use Raspberry Pi control systems to build an automated water fountain. Analog and digital inputs and outputs are employed in conjunction with a web server application allowing the fountain to be controlled from a smart phone. These skills come into play during the January Project Week as students design and build a water-related product for our version of Shark Tank. Next students dive deep into camera technology for stills, video, stop motion, motion activated, live broadcast and machine vision applications. Using the Raspberry Pi camera module and the Python language students, complete a series of projects to be used around campus in various areas ranging from setting up a live studio for the Bobcat broadcast to a photo booth to motion activated security cameras.

Sixth Grade Course Overview

In sixth grade technology classes, students build electronics circuits on breadboards and attach them to the Raspberry Pi, where control programs are written to do sensing and control. Soldering certification is tackled through several beginning level projects. These skills are used to build smart houses and automation for the January Project Week. In collaboration with science, students will select near space environment sensing experiments and construct satellites with embedded flight computers to record data during a high altitude balloon, which students will launch from Eastern Washington. Elements of cybersecurity are studied as students build a “secure“ web application. 

Eighth Grade Course Overview

 
Eighth grade is the year where students demonstrate all their skills, applying their technical knowledge to many in depth real world applications. In collaboration with science and humanities sustainable agriculture is explored from several perspectives, including building a working, semi-automated, agriculture operation. Later, Bio-engineering is in the spotlight with the design and building of 3D printable human prosthetic devices such as joints, brainwave controlled interfaces or a robot actuated simulated hand. In the eighth grade capstone project, students use their knowledge of technology and American government to improve their local community. In collaboration with their humanities class, students identify a need in our community and develop an innovative maker project to address the identified need. In teams, students outline their plan, conduct research, gather needed materials, gain expertise and breakdown tasks amongst group members. Students apply the technology knowledge they have gained throughout their time at Open Window School to design and build their unique invention using the tools and equipment available in the Innovation & Technology Lab.