Students at Cerro Villa Middle School in Orange have the opportunity to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics through a hands-on elective course that began in March and takes place in the school’s new on-site STEM lab.
Utilizing the Paxton ActionLABS program, the lab contains 16 stations stocked with hardware, software, tools and instructional materials that students can leverage to conduct hands-on experiments in the STEM fields through project-based lessons.
From hydrogen fuel cells to the latest in MIDI sound equipment and software, Cerro’s lab offers a glimpse into the future of classrooms and is the only workspace of its kind in the Orange Unified School District.
“The lab presents a unique quality that a typical classroom doesn’t offer,” said Cerro Villa Principal Lisa Organ. “Students work independently and continuously on hands-on, real-world projects.”
There are 135 students enrolled in the course who work in pairs, rotating through the modules in two-week cycles and learning new technologies in a variety of fields such as drafting, digital music, computer graphics, forensic science and laser technology while completing project-based activities.
The STEM lab’s instructional stations include Alternative Energy; Computer Aided Drafting (CAD); Computer Graphics and Animation; Digital Manufacturing; Digital Music; Electricity; Energy and Power; Flight Technology; Forensic Science; Laser Technology; Materials Processing; Mechanisms; Pneumatics; Research and Development; Robotics; and Structural Engineering. Two more stations, Video Productions and Audio Communications, are planned for the future.