CESJDS Opens a STEM Innovations Lab (iLab)

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The iLab Seeks to Activate Critical Thinking and Discovery Via a Variety of Hands-On Activities

Our iLab learning philosophy is that teachers are the guides, but the students pave their own path to discovery.”

The Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS), a K-12 independent day school built on a platform committed to academic excellence, Jewish values, and the practice of pluralism, today opened its Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) iLab.

The iLab, modeled after the work of Innovation consultant Charles Leadbeater, is a concept, as well as a physical space. It is a hub for a diverse and layered STEM program at CESJDS, which includes formal and informal activities: a STEM elective class for fifth- and sixth-graders; a home base for after-school clubs including Computer Coding and Lego Robotics; preschool STEM events for the greater community; “drop in and learns” for students who can visit during free times; and an opportunity for co-teaching by classroom teachers and the STEM Education Specialist, Dr. Alexis Soffler.

“The iLab is an opportunity for CESJDS to be at the forefront of STEM education at the elementary level, where it is not universally prominent at this time,” says Dr. Soffler. “Our iLab learning philosophy is that teachers are the guides, but the students pave their own path to discovery.”

The CESJDS iLab houses engaging and exciting tools on the forefront of STEM education. Among them are a 3-D printer, green screen, SMART board, water rockets, learning models, a water/sand table, and more.

“CESJDS is committed to fostering a love of learning and development of critical thinking skills, even at the primary level. The iLab will set an example for schools, nationally and locally; public and private, that STEM activities can be tailored to students of any age,” says Rabbi Mitchel Malkus, the CESJDS Head of School. “Our iLab in the Lower School will be a spark to expanding STEM learning into the upper grades in the future.”

For more information on the iLab, please visit http://www.cesjds.org/iLab. CESJDS will be holding a STEMsation event for 3- and 4-year olds on Sunday, September 14 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. RSVPs are currently being accepted at http://www.cesjds.org/STEMsation.

Founded in 1965, the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS) is one of the largest and most prestigious K-12 Jewish day schools in North America. Creativity and confidence are the cornerstones of our school community, cultivated by our warm family atmosphere and tradition of academic excellence. Our 1,000+ students flourish with the support of dedicated faculty and the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technologies. At CESJDS, we prepare young men and women for active engagement in the Jewish community and leadership in American society. CESJDS is approved by the State of Maryland Department of Education and accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Visit http://www.cesjds.org for more information and/or for a tour of our campuses.

About Dr. Alexis Soffler
Dr. Alexis Soffler joined the CESJDS team as a STEM Education Specialist in 2013. She has spearheaded the expansion of the STEM program at CESJDS, including co-developing elementary school-wide programs, events such as the STEM Challenge, and the launch of the iLab. Prior to CESJDS, she held several other STEM-related teaching positions in Colorado where her passion for the subject grew. She is excited to work with students and teachers who are invested in the exciting educational space of STEM. Dr. Soffler may be contacted at asoffler(at)cesjds(dot)org

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Laurie Ehrlich
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