The kindergarten students in Mrs. Lewis' class at St. Veronica School took on Design Lab and took First Place for Innovation! Throughout the year the students have been working with Mrs. Lewis’ brother, "Architect Mike", from ______. They got hands-on experience with building things and learning how architecture can be used to solve problems.
The theme for this year’s Design Lab, which is done in schools throughout the city, was "Food for Thought", so students had to think of a project involving food that could solve a real-world problem. During the group discussion part of the project, one group of kindergarteners shared that oftentimes when they go out to eat they get bored. In response to that problem, they came up with the concept of Panda Climb + Dine. They proposed a second-floor restaurant where, while eating, you can enjoy watching pandas climb and play in the trees surrounding the restaurant. The best part is when you're finished, you leave the restaurant by a large slide that deposits you on an outside playground! This is a win-win-win design; Pandas get protected, eating is fun, and you get to end the meal with a trip to a playground!
The kindergarteners won the "Inspired Innovator" award for the K-2 Division of Design Lab. This award is given to the project judged "most unique and represents excellence in inventive thinking and design". This group received the highest marks in three different categories: "Design solution clearly reflects effective collaboration", "Project is clearly unique in concept, materials, model, and presentation", and "Concept and materials strongly reflect creativity and innovation".
“I think Design Lab was a huge success!” says teacher, Megan Lewis. “All of the kids LOVED it. I received many parent emails thanking my brother and me for doing this project. Parents said the children were sad when it was over.” The children would literally count down the days to when "Architect Mike" would come in for his next visit. “We may have some future architects, engineers, and designers on our hands.” said Mrs. Lewis with a smile. “I am very proud of my students. I was blown away by their creativity and ability to work together, and I'm hoping we can do it again next year!”