By Brian Freiberger
Schoolcraft Elementary hosted its first-ever Innovation Day in May, letting students explore innovation through technology and creativity with special classrooms and activities.
Activities at Innovation Day included a pirate boat challenge where students design a small boat out of tinfoil and see how many pennies they can put in it until it sinks. Students designed a cardboard playground for a miniature robot called the Ozobot. In another classroom, students used tablets to read digital codes to gather information about birds.
“We take a lot of pride that we use technology when it’s appropriate,” said Schoolcraft Elementary Principal Matt Webster.
The day also touched on the creative side, allowing students to unleash their inner Andy Warhol by coloring pictures of themselves and designing a toothpick tower with play-doh.
The two main goals of Innovation Day were to allow students a choice over all three of their sessions and to give teachers an opportunity to go to different classrooms and observe a colleague teaching something different during the day, according to Webster.
“Choice and voice is the big reason why we are doing this,” said Matt McCullough, innovation director at Schoolcraft.
“Teachers learn from each other; they get to circulate around the building and learn about more open-ended projects,” said McCullough about the importance of collaboration among teachers.
Webster told a story about a child who was a little too eager for Innovation Day that morning, “A mom heard the child up earlier than normal, so she went to go check on him. He was awake with his backpack on at 7 a.m., getting ready to go to Innovation Day. She had to tell him school doesn’t happen for another hour.”