Cedar Point Elementary School (CPES) in Bristow has gone a step further to prepare the workforce of the future.
Last night, the school held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Thinkabit Lab, which will “provide students hands-on experience combining career exploration with engineering innovation,” according to a release.
The lab is modeled off of the Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab and the lab at Virginia Tech.
According to their website, “Qualcomm® Thinkabit Lab™ is a combination engineering lab, makerspace and classroom built to inspire students from all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.”
CPES Principal Mark Marinoble said that in 2018 1.3 million STEAM (science, techonology, engineering, arts, and math) jobs are going to go unfilled, and Qualcomm created the lab concept in part to create a pipeline of students, to get them in to STEAM careers.
“We really believe in this STEM-for-all philosophy. In fact, when we decided to reach out to elementary schools initially…we insisted that if we invited a school an entire grade has to come. We don’t want just an exclusive club or subset of students,” said Virginia Tech Research Faculty and Director Jim Egenreider about the university’s efforts to expand the program.
Egenreider expects that a lab will be opened in a school in the Woodbridge-area next year.
CPES STEAM teacher Adair Solomon shared her experience taking her students to the lab space at Virginia Tech.
“I watched my students throughout the day completely engaged in learning – they were having fun. But they were using C++ code, which is very adult…they were collaborating,” said Solomon.
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