Technology and Innovation
Christine Witcher
By Christine Witcher
Middle School Science Teacher, Technology and Innovation Specialist
 
March 1, 2019
 
At Forest Ridge we believe that technology can be a tool for equity, creativity, and deeper learning. Our teachers are use technology and our innovative spaces (The Shop, The Center Studio, and The Digital Media Lab) in a variety of interesting and effective ways. Here are just a few examples of how Forest Ridge teachers are using technology to differentiate learning and inspire creative expression:
 
6th Grade Students Model Ancient Technology
A stupa (Sanskrit for heap) is an ancient Buddhist sepulchral monument. They were designed for form and function, to represent the Buddha, Enlightenment, and the universe, but also to resist seasonal flooding. The sixth grade spent time in The Shop this month creating functional models of stupas.  
 
Peggy Setoguchi, 6th grade teacher, explains: “The girls had the opportunity to do a hands-on STEM project to delve into the material they were learning in class about stupas in their Ancient India unit. During this project, the girls were able to have full autonomy to show their creativity by designing their own stupas, expand their knowledge in a “real life” learning environment, use problem-solving skills and test their designs, modify and try out revisions multiple times to be successful and learn collaboration skills in a group project setting.  This type of learning is valuable for allowing them to expand their critical thinking skills and creating an interest in the concepts taught/learned."  
 
7th Grade Students Engineer Better Buildings
Sara Konek, 7th grade science teacher, had her 7th grade students in The Shop applying their knowledge of earthquakes, wave physics, and engineering practices to design more stable buildings for people living in earthquake-prone regions. They had full access to materials and tools but were asked to justify their use by explaining the real materials they represent. The buildings were testing in a “shake box” filled with a to-scale sediment.  
 
High School Makes Math 3D
A few weeks ago, Laurie Corrin, high school math teacher, noticed that her calculus class was struggling to visualize the rotation of a two-dimensional shape about an axis. She decided to look to technology to support her students spatial thinking and taught them Google Sketchup, a browser-based 3D modeling program, so they could model shapes themselves. We printed these shapes on a 3D printer and students were able to hold them in their hands! Taking an abstract concept and turning it into a physical object is a fabulous way to support the development of spatial thinking.
  • Forest Ridge Blog