The opening of the new ®LEGO Innovation Studio in 2016 was a landmark for S. Anselm’s and it is now hard to imagine the school without this exceptional facility.
Where innovation is concerned, traditional subject boundaries are consigned to the past and children have the opportunity to explore their project-based learning and focus on finding solutions to problems in an imaginative, creative and collaborative way.
As well as supporting all areas of curriculum delivery, the studio serves many purposes: robotics centre, STEM club, 3D design studio, architecture workshop (using our extensive LEGO Architecture sets), TV/green screen filming studio and theme park construction area, to name but a few in recent months.
Children in Reception, Years 1 and 2 use their tutor time and their very own ®LEGO WeDo sets and iPads for Coding. This captivates children’s imagination and inspires them to take the first steps in programming using picture blocks of code on the iPads to create instructions that are sent wirelessly to their robots.
At the beginning of 2020, our Year 2 pupils won first prize a National STEM Competition – ‘Farmvention’ – run by the NFU (National Farmers’ Union), for their design for a Magnificent Carrot Hoover, which they were invited to present at the House of Commons. The carrot harvester was designed to harvest carrots whilst preserving the soil structure around them, all powered by renewable energy.
From Year 3 onwards, all pupils have specialist Coding Lessons are timetabled in the studio. Pupils might find themselves doing anything from making advanced problem-solving robots to designing websites or creating an original 3D design to print on our 3D printers. These lessons also develop important digital literacy skills and characteristics that are essential for young adults in the 21st Century workplace to have.
Older children use the advanced Mindstorm robots (which are used as a resource in the first year of Engineering at Cambridge University) as well as learning RobotC text based programming language which is widely used in University robotics departments. Using a wide array of motors and sensors (including motion detectors, light sensors, gyroscopes and infrared), pupils are encouraged to find their own individual solutions to problems, working in a similar way to those designing robots and machines in industry.
Many amazing structures emerge from the studio’s 3D printers from mechanical inventions to artistic creations.
Without doubt, the Innovation Studio is a firm favourite with S. Anselm’s pupils, who never fail to seize wet breaks and free time on Wednesday evenings as further opportunities to immerse themselves in its fabulous facilities.