Omaha school creates 'tinkering space'

It features an 'Innovation Lab'
Posted at 6:40 AM, Jan 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-26 10:43:15-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - Friedel Jewish Academy features a room just for thinking and tinkering.

Inside, you might find students either working on a robotics project or barefoot next to a tray of water.

"What we did is we took our socks off and put our feet in the water," said fifth grade student, Sasha.

Then, they stick them on a piece of paper and trace over the wet marks.

At the moment, they're learning how various feet sizes and shapes can support the body as they they learn how to design and build prosthetic knees.

The head of the school, Beth Cohen, observes the students as some take turns dipping their feet while others play with a robot.

"The idea that some of us grew up with, 'Sit down at your desks and get to work,' is not how education works anymore," Cohen said.

Two years ago, the school started an innovation curriculum. In the fall, it carved out space for a new room, the Innovation Lab.

We do some engineering activities, which is what you're seeing with the prosthetic project, Cohen said.

She said students in kindergarten through sixth grade study robotics.

It's all in the name of STEM, short for science, technology, engineering and math.

The setting inside the classroom is relaxed due to nixing stiff desks and chairs and features rocking chairs and stability balls instead.

Students like Gabor say they enjoy coming to the room.

"I think the best part about this room is having its own room to do something."