Two years ago a group of intrepid high school Computer Aided Design students pitched a big idea to an audience made up of some of KIS’ most influential decision makers: tear down the traditional classroom walls and construct a state-of-the-art, purpose-built Design & Innovation Suite that promotes creativity, collaboration, and innovation. The students conducted research–including reaching out to schools across the world, met with the KIS engineering team to study structural drawings and gather precise dimensions, and put together a polished proposal that left their audience inspired to act. With the encouragement of the administration and Board, the following year’s CAD students carried the work forward, updating the plans and adapting them to fit changing conditions. In August the vision of our students became a reality with the opening of the D&I Suite on the second floor of the high school.
This impressive commitment is already seeing results, as students are engaging in applied learning D&I clubs and courses in greater numbers than ever before. Currently, eight different clubs are utilizing the space for activities such as building robotics, 3D printing prototypes, programming apps, and even designing CO2-powered race cars! In addition to providing an amazing space that students liken to Google’s headquarters, KIS has also demonstrated a commitment to the D&I department through a serious investment in cutting edge technology and equipment. The students now have access to twenty-two high end computers, seven 3D printers, a CNC router, a wind tunnel, electronics kits and tools, and a variety of power and handheld tools for prototyping with wood, PVC, metal, and styrofoam.
As teachers and students continue exploring the possibilities afforded by the new space and the wide range of courses and clubs on offer, we will be posting their progress to a web page dedicated to highlighting their work.
Text and photos from Jacob McCullough and Scott Smith.