Challenge Lab Philosophy

Challenge Lab Philosophy:

Challenge Lab is defined by four themes which are technology, artistic exploration, applied research, and civic action projects.  Challenge Lab will embody a maker culture that includes a student-centered classroom focused on the 4 C’s Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, and Collaboration.  Students will be immersed in a fusion of project-based learning and problem-based learning.  The teacher will also create guidelines that will encourage autonomy and empower students to be creative.  The teacher and students will collaborate which supports a partnering pedagogy that empowers students to lead, innovate, and communicate.  Challenge Lab is also a place for students and teachers to utilize outside of the scheduled Challenge Lab class.  For example students and teachers from a science class can utilize the Challenge Lab for a project to learn about plant and animal cells by 3-D printing their model of the cell that they created with Tinkercad.  This supports an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to education that illustrates the goals of SOMS as well as SOCSD.  Students also have access to the zSpace mixed reality computers.  Learn more about zSpace and student learning here:

Student Outcomes for the Challenge Lab:

  • Students will critically think individually and in groups.  
  • Students will create projects that relate to their passions and curiosity. 
  • Students will participate in competitions, STEAM Exhibitions, and Maker Faires to showcase their  talent.  Examples include New York State History Day, Maker Faire at TZHS,  Scholastic Art and Writing, and FIRST LEGO League Robotics Competition
  • Students will develop original ideas that will be implemented in the form of a project that demonstrates a connection to one of the Challenge Lab themes.  
  • Students will leverage technology to enhance their project productivity.
  • Students will demonstrate digital literacy skills by optimizing technology (creating and sharing  project folders in Google Drive, using brainstorming apps such as Padlet).
  • Students will challenge themselves to participate in projects that may take them out of their “comfort zone”  (students with a strong interest in writing will create projects involving Sphero Robots OR students with a strong interest in technology will develop a civic action project).