“I think my brain is growing!”
“You made me want to learn more and do better!”
“I hope some of us become real inventors when we grow up.”
“You taught me to never give up.”

These are just a few of the rave reviews received from students at Mann Elementary in the St. Louis Public School District, who showcased their achievements in Springboard to Learning’s IdeaBuilder program during an exclusive celebration January 15th at the Magic House @ MADE!

Students from Mann, as well as students from McNair Elementary School (Hazelwood School District), La Salle Middle School (Charter School), and Mallinckrodt Academy of Gifted Instruction (St. Louis Public School District) who participated in Springboard’s signature residency this fall, were honored with an after-hours session of hands-on exploration and creation at the children’s makerspace. The event also featured a prototype gallery where the inventors got to display the work they created over the course of the semester.

During IdeaBuilder, a Springboard residency for grades 3-8, students create a prototype of a product that solves a real world problem in their daily lives, using critical thinking and creativity to find new solutions and approaches to these challenges. The program culminates with a celebration and exhibition of the students’ work. John Grapperhaus, the St. Louis Public School Coordinator for Springboard to Learning, teamed up with the staff at the Magic House for the culmination after visiting MADE with his family over the summer and realizing it was the perfect way for the two organizations to collaborate.

Springboard Signature Programming seeks to integrate in partnership with the school and the community, building 21st century skills like critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication while providing engaging, real-world learning opportunities for students. According to one teacher from Mann Elementary School, IdeaBuilder has definitely succeeded.

“In each class I have at least one student that struggles with completing the work and staying engaged in school on a daily basis,” said the teacher, whose class participated in the residency this fall. “Every one of those students grappled with creating an invention, successfully made a prototype, and then presented their projects at the IdeaBuilder Fair. The confidence those students gained and interest in school has carried over into their regular classwork.”