fab lab
In the Allen School Fab Lab, students in grade K-5 will explore multiple topics associated with STEM, including engineering, makerspace, and computer science units. 
If you stop by Allen's Fab Lab, you may see students:
  • Learning about different fields of engineering
  • Collaborating with peers to work through the Engineering Design Process
  • Constructing and testing their of creations
  • Filming videos using the green screen area 
  • Coding with different robotics
  • Using the Google G-Suite on Chromebooks
  • Practicing digital citizenship
See below for more specifics of our STEM program at Allen School!
1st Grade: To Get to the Other Side: Designing Bridges
This unit introduces the principles behind bridge design with the storybook Javier Builds a Bridge, about a boy who needs a safe footbridge to get to his island play fort. Students will reinforce their understanding of “push” and “pull” as they explore how forces act on different structures. They’ll use what they know about balance and force as they experiment with beam, arch, and suspension bridges—and learn how bridge designs counteract and redirect forces and motion. In the final design challenge, students plan, build, and test their own bridges.

2nd Grade: A Work in Process: Improving a Play Dough Process
If you’ve ever followed a recipe, you know that the amount of each ingredient and the order in which you mix them matters. Chemical engineers use these same principles when designing processes. When students read the storybook Michelle’s MVP Award, they learn about a girl who designs a better way to make play-dough. The activities in this unit reinforce the science concepts “solid” and “liquid” as students explore the properties of different materials—and the properties of mixtures of materials. The final engineering design challenge? Design a process for making high-quality play dough.

3rd Grade: The Attraction is Obvious: Designing Maglev Systems
Innovative “maglev” or magnetic levitation trains move by using magnets instead of wheels. The technological innovation behind these trains comes alive for students in this transportation engineering unit. Students will send magnets sailing, help magnets hover and poke around magnetic fields. With their new insights into the science of magnets, students will use the engineering design process to design, test, and improve their own tabletop maglev transportation systems—just like the character in the storybook Hikaru’s Toy Troubles.

4th Grade: A Stick in the Mud: Evaluating a Landscape
The storybook that anchors this unit, Suman Crosses the Karnali River, takes students to Nepal, where people rely on innovative cable bridges called TarPuls to cross flooded rivers during monsoon season. Digging into the role of geotechnical engineers, students must select a safe, flood-proof, and erosion-proof location for a new TarPul. Working with a model riverbank, they study soil properties, examine maps to assess the potential for erosion at different sites along the river, and factor in the villagers’ preferences for a TarPul location.

5th Grade: A Slick Solution: Cleaning an Oil Spill
An oil spill can be deadly for fish, plants, and other organisms in the river ecosystem. Through the storybook Tehya’s Pollution Solution, students learn about a spill on the Elwha River in the Pacific Northwest. Applying their knowledge of ecosystems and food webs, students will test water quality and also the oil-absorbing properties of different materials as they engineer a process for cleaning up an oil spill. This unit introduces students to the field of environmental engineering.
"To define a school makerspace by its purpose and simplest of terms, it is a place where young people have an opportunity to explore their own interests; learn to use tools and materials, both physical and virtual; and develop creative projects"   Laura Flemming Worlds of Making
Students in grades K-5 will have the opportunity to manipulate, explore, and create using a variety of materials and tools. They will be guided through units that will give them the opportunity to propose original ideas and create prototypes to solve problems they encounter in their everyday lives and in the lives of others. From constructing a city, to building "magnificent things",  to inventing solutions to everyday problems, students will make, tinker, and construct what they imagine in their mind.
Computer Science is the study of computers and how they work. Students in grades K-5 will learn the "ins" and "outs" of a computer and its use of hardware, software and computer programming. Through the study of how computer works, students will also be introduced to electronic circuitry and they will develop their computational and critical thinking skills by practicing computer programming. The goal of studying computer science is to develop the necessary skills to be able to create, not simply consume, new technologies. By understanding how these technologies function, and fostering the skills of creativity and collaboration, our students will be able to meet the demands of a digital age.