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South Dakota Middle School Learns Next Generation Skills with STEM Activities

South Dakota Middle School Learns Next Generation Skills with STEM Activities“Twenty-five years ago, computer class consisted of not much more than typing practice and playing Oregon Trail. Today, students are programming robots, making movies, building cars, composing ringtones and a lot more in SmartLab.” 

This wonderful article about Brandon Valley Middle School (South Dakota), titled SmartLab Makes for SmartKids, offers a glimpse into the diverse STEM activities that take place every day in a typical SmartLab. It also explores many of the benefits the school derives from implementing a SmartLab STEM program and the next generation skills learned by all students of all abilities.

Principal Brad Thorson summed it up nicely, “It’s awesome to see kids use their creativity and create different ideas. It’s an awesome addition to our school.”

The most popular station is the 3-D printing. One student created a divot repair tool that is used in golf. Students may want to use the 3-D printer, but they have to figure out how it is going to work and how to bring an idea to life. With a lot of trial and error, students are able to explore many different avenues of learning.

“The big thing for me is that they’re learning things and still having the freedom to be creative and still making that practical.” said Sam Kruse, SmartLab director at BVMS.

Matt Dickstein

Matthew Dickstein, CEO of Creative Learning Systems, has been a successful entrepreneur in the field of education for over 25 years. Prior to joining CLS in 2004, he played key management roles in building National Technological University, a pioneer in the field of higher education distance learning, and ELS Language Centers, the largest teacher of intensive English language programs in the U.S. Matthew received a B.S. in business from the University of Colorado and holds an M.B.A from Harvard Business School.

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