Mo­bile In­no­va­tion Lab reaches Bat­tle Grove

The Dundalk Eagle - - OPINION - By CHAR­LENE MAYO [email protected]­pub.com

For the first time, last week, the Mo­bile In­no­va­tion Lab made its way to Bat­tle Grove Ele­men­tary.

The Mo­bile In­no­va­tion Lab bus, which was com­pleted in Oc­to­ber 2016, trav­els to each ele­men­tary school in Bal­ti­more County to do pre-planned STEM (science, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics)based ac­tiv­i­ties on the bus.

Each grade, from kinder­garten to fifth, com­pletes dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties based on grade level, ac­cord­ing to Mo­bile In­no­va­tion lab re­source teacher, Christina Cum­ber­land.

“We go to dif­fer­ent schools and pre-plan what each grade level is go­ing to do,” Cum­ber­land said.

Bat­tle Grove Ele­men­tary third graders worked through dif­fer­ent chal­lenges us­ing lit­tle-bits, creat­ing cir­cuits and so­lu­tions for ac­tiv­i­ties based on dif­fer­ent chal­lenges.

Ac­cord­ing to Cum­ber­land, the Mo­bile In­no­va­tion Lab only does ele­men­tary school res­i­den­cies but will do events for sec­ondary schools upon re­quest.

Each grade level does an ac­tiv­ity that’s se­lected by the school, Cum­ber­land ex­plained, not­ing that it “de­pends on the school, what the stu­dents are work­ing on and what the ad­min­is­tra­tors want them to fo­cus on.”

“For the fifth graders, we wanted them to work on their col­lab­o­ra­tion skills, so we had them work in teams to fly mini drones,” Bat­tle Grove Ele­men­tary li­brar­ian Kelly Greer ex­plained. “We had our fourth graders use Ozobots to com­plete some chal­lenges yes­ter­day on the bus.”

Since there’s only one Mo­bile In­no­va­tion Lab that has to reach all of the ele­men­tary schools in Bal­ti­more County, it takes a while to get to each school, ac­cord­ing to Cum­ber­land.

“Schools can’t re­quest the bus un­til all the ele­men­tary school have re­ceived a res­i­dency,” Cum­ber­land said.

The chil­dren have a lot of fun do­ing the ac­tiv­i­ties, Cum­ber­land ex­plained, “Most of them ask if they can come back to­mor­row.”

Ac­cord­ing to Cum­ber­land, kids ask if they can do the ac­tiv­i­ties at home.

“This gives the kids an op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore things that they don’t typ­i­cally get to do in the class­room,” Cum­ber­land said.

“Ele­men­tary school kids aren’t usu­ally ex­posed to these STEM ac­tiv­i­ties, and it can re­ally in­ter­est them,” she noted.

“Some high school­ers don’t re­al­ize that STEM is some­thing they’re in­ter­ested in, Cum­ber­land ex­plained, “So start­ing early, gives them years to fig­ure out if it’s some­thing that’ll work for them.”

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