ORANGE, OH (WOIO) - The jobs expected to see the most growth over the next few years are in the science, engineering and technology fields.
Kids need to be prepared for those careers. Nationally and locally, there has been a big push for more STEM – science, technology, engineering, math - education. Teachers and administrators in the Orange school district are introducing their students to a unique stem lesson this week.
The old gym at Brady Middle School in Pepper Pike has been transformed into a 'Fab Lab', a digital fabrication laboratory.
"it's actually better than class," says Tariq Taylor, a 7th grader at Brady Middle School.
Students are making circuit paths, stools, and board games. They're learning how to take a simple idea, make a prototype for it and use technology to create it.
"I designed a butterfly that popped up. I thought it was really cool," says 7th grader Zoe Ursetti.
The goal is to promote STEM education and the 21st century skills needed to better prepare the students for real life.
"The future jobs that they're going to go to, as professionals out of college, more than 70-percent will demand this kind of competency," says Jan Morrison, who donated the Fab Lab to the Orange district for the week.
Teachers say the process and the troubleshooting is a big part of the learning experience, too.
"Trial and trial and failure and learning from failure, so the whole thought of perseverance, the grit," says Math teacher Christa Krohn
"They're thinking creatively about the problem they're trying to solve. They're collaborating with each other," adds Jake Miller, Technology Integration Specialist.
Krohn and Miller say there's a sense of confidence in the students, when they see their finished product, that reaches beyond a text book lesson.
"When they finally come to that place where they solved it, or learned something from their failures, the sense of pride they have is something you can't teach," says Krohn.
Community members in the Orange district are invited to come see the Fab Lab for themselves Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. You have to register to be able to try out the machines. The Orange district is considering investing in the Fab Lab to possibly make it a yearly experience for the students.
Jan Morrison donated the fab lab to the Orange district for the week. She has a long history with STEM education. Morrison is now the President of TIES, the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM. She helped create MC2 STEM high school in Cleveland.
She's been a consultant on the subject to the U.S. Department of Education and the White House. Morrison is also a grandmother of two students in the Orange district.
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