The Kentucky school’s tech lab will teach students how to create

Somerset Christian School unveiled a brand new tech lab on Jan. 11 — a one-of-a-kind lab in Kentucky that will help teach students integrated science, technology, engineering, arts and math skills.

The SmartLab, as it’s called, has 12 stations with a two-person setup at each station so students can learn how to complete projects from scratch, explained SmartLab facilitator Megan Conner.

“My job is to guide them through the process, but I don’t tell them what to do,” Conner explained.

Lab projects can include learning to graphic design a logo from the start, building things like a robot or hydrogen car, or learning about circuits by creating an instant circuit set.

Conner said the goal was to help teach students some of the “lost arts” that modern technology has dulled.

“As all these kids grow up with technology, they’re so used to being able to say, ‘Hey Siri, how do you do that?’ … We lose our ability to think creatively, to be innovative, to solve problems and to be persistent.

Conner said the lab was purchased from Creative Learning Systems, and she and Mike Mitchell of Creative Learning Systems said it was the first lab set up in the state of Kentucky.

Not only that, SCS student David Crubaugh pointed out that, from what he was told, the next closest lab was in Murphy, North Carolina.

He and his comrade Manuel Catalan have built a RoboMaster robot that uses some of the same technology used by military vehicles. It can move side to side, rotate 360 ​​degrees, track individuals and be used to listen in on conversations.

The two named it Legolas, as they said the antenna looked a bit like elf ears and could fire projectiles, like the famous Lord of the Rings archer of the same name, although in the case of the robot, they are harmless pellets.

They said it took them around five days to build the bot, with Crubaugh saying they chose the project “because it looked cool”.

Both said they were interested in robotics and computers.

Ron Gleaves, director of SCS, said one of the school’s goals is to be able to partner with as many other entities – local high schools and colleges – as possible. This lab is another way to do that, he said.

“It opens up so many possibilities for us as a school,” Gleaves said, adding that having a lab like this in a rural community was a blessing from God.

Gleaves thanked those who have supported the school over the years, allowing it to grow as it has.

He also thanked former principal John Hale and pastor Harold Brown for their vision in building the school into what it is.

Brown was on hand to oversee the lab’s dedication ceremony, telling the assembled crowd, “I’m grateful not only for what you see, but what it helps to produce in their (students’) minds, in the lives of the children. … I think in five years we will see a difference in the education of our children and in the direction of our children, because they have had the opportunity to do so.

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