Classroom of the future at Orange’s Cerro Villa Middle School boosts career exploration in STEM fields

STEM Lab collageStudents 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.

You can read about the different stations here. And to learn more about career technical education at Orange Unified visit their website here.