Innovation Academy

Josh had the awesome opportunity to participate in Innovation Academy for 2 weeks this summer.  It was sponsored by IBM, and students got to work at the IBM campus for 1 week and then at Skyline High School for 1 week.  They were working under the Smarter Planet initiative and had to come up with creative and innovative ways to help our planet.  Josh’s group was “Smarter Water.”  They got to solve problems ranging from how to get people to drink more water to how to create a fresh drinking supply in a remote African Village.  They learned to apply the traits of innovation which are: collaboration, creativity, curiosity, persistence and risk taking.  Each day the kids made prototypes, testing their ideas and theories and then after receiving feedback from their peers they went though a revision process.  Innovation Academy culminated with a night where all the students displayed their favorite prototype and parents got to ask questions to the kids and hear how and why the kids came up with their fantastically creative ideas.  

I was blown away by this program and so very glad that Josh got to participate in it.  I was so proud of how he applied himself and used his creative thinking.  I included a few blog posts from his instructor, Mr. Lemon, below.  


Today we began our last design challenge. Students chose a problem on which to focus and began empathizing with their client. Since the majority of our clients are in Africa, students conducted research to find out more about who they are designing a product for. We have a group studying the Umgeni river in Africa and are attempting to create a fish that will kill bacteria and filter water throughout the river. We have another group that has an ingenious way to stop leaking pipes by rerouting the water through another series of pipes with an alarm system saying where the leak is occurring. There are many more ideas but I do not want to spoil them for you. You will have to come on Friday to find out the rest of our ideas.
All in all we had a great day. Students discovered what it means to compromise and be persistent. We focused on developing an idea all the way through and students struggled but persisted through their projects. I’m excited to see how they modify and better their projects tomorrow.
Here is what you children said about our day.
Lily, leaky pipes are really bad if you don’t fix them immediately.
Marina, I learned that just one broken pipe can make a flood.
Josh, it take lots of tries to find something that will work in a prototype.
Daisey, I learned that leaky pipes can cause a flood in your basement.
Willoree, I learned that if you put like a piece of trash on the ground that counts and that can add up to a whole polluted world.
Ella, I learned that you should never water your gutters to clean them.
Diego, I learned that when you prototype, you don’t just go through it one way, you have to go through it different ways. When you prototype, you can’t just think about it and do it, you have to go through the different phases of design thinking.
Tristan, I learned that when you work together, a really hard project can be an easy project.

We have reached the end of our two week stint at Innovation Academy. We had an amazing time, learned a ton, and collaborated everyday. Our students learned about the water treatment plant at IBM, how to filter water, problems involving water around the world, and how to solve those problems. Our students learned that one billion people around the world do not have access to clean water, countries with water facilities waste millions of gallons of water every day through leaky pipes, and that people can die from dehydration or water filled with bacteria and viruses.
Our students collaborated, invented, created, built, discussed, communicated, ideated, brainstormed, tested, presented, and discussed feedback. We asked a lot from the students and they in turn gave a lot. Everyday the students worked eagerly to help solve problems around the world. They compromised when their idea was not voted on by the group. They built off of each others ideas and had a blast doing so.
This has been a great experience for both your children and myself. Thank you for signing your children up and bringing them to Innovation Academy. We all had a wonderful time!

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