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Best of the Week 2018-2019: Teaching to the Future


Today was the kickoff of the new Innovators' Lab, an extracurricular group that will provide students with fun, hands-on innovation projects to complete together throughout the school year. Led by Director of Innovation Mr. Nicholas Kuhar and Vice President of Admission and Strategic Initiatives Mr. KC McKenna '00, the Innovators' Lab's first meeting presented students with a tasty challenge: a 3-6 month design cycle project centered around creating an ice cream flavor authentic to St. Edward High School. The stretch goal for this project will be to create a flavor unique and tasty enough to be sold through a local partner.

Students will be given the basic ingredients to make their ice cream, but will not be given directions for how to make it. Instead, students will have to use logic and their senses to ideate and determine how much of each ingredient to use to concoct the perfect ice cream. The overall premise of this year-long project is to see how ice cream always starts with the same ingredients, but in the end, every ice cream brand and flavor has different, distinct tastes because of how it's made. Through collaboration and creativity, students will work together to not only figure out how to make delicious, quality ice cream, but along the way, they will also learn how to integrate data analytics, engineering and chemistry and will tap into an entrepreneurial mindset on how to best produce and market their creations.

"We're committed to teaching to the future every day, and the Innovators' Lab is another fun way we can model risk-taking, true collaboration and creative problem-solving alongside students," says Mr. Kuhar. "I love experimenting and failing, trying again, failing better and trying yet again. Getting to experiment and fail alongside students is so important. I want them to be thoughtful, use their intuition and have a plan, but ultimately, to not be afraid of failure."

"As we continue to build on our culture of innovation and commitment to teaching to the future, we want to create as many opportunities as possible for students to create something new and have genuine design thinking experiences. Our goal is to have students utilize design thinking and expose them to opportunities that provide authentic exposure to the design cycle," says Mr. McKenna. "I'm looking forward to how creative students will get with this project and to see the ways in which they will take risks. Every ice cream starts with the same ingredients and it's pretty easy to make, but there are thousands of flavors, different quality levels, textures, etc. Our students will really need to think outside the box to create something that is unique and marketable at the same time. There's a lot of complexity in the simplicity of ice cream, and I think our students will really dive into those complexities."

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