ECMS unveils new Collaboration STEM Lab

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A lot of “oohs” and “ahhs” echoed around the newly designed Collaboration STEM Lab at Escambia County Middle School on Sept. 19.

ECHS held an open house to unveil the new lab, which features several opportunities for students to work together on projects.

School board members, city council members and other dignitaries were on hand for the event.

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The Collaboration Lab was designed for all 600 students at ECMS. The lab includes TV monitors and touch screen computers; computer stations for collaborating on projects; a Lego robotics station; and a seating area.

Collaboration Lab Teacher Angela Davis said the lab teaches students to collaborate, work with others and accept the ideas of others as well.

Davis said even though she teaches all grades, her main focus is on teaching seventh and eighth grade students.

Davis said students are able to build robots out of the Legos, and then use laptops to program the robots.

“We’re hoping to get a competition team going,” she said.

Most of the learning done in the class is problem-based learning, Davis said.

This week, the students presented a project on bullying, she said.

Davis said the students do their own work on the projects.

“They have to find the information and do the research to create the presentation,” she said.

During the unveiling, ECMS Principal Debbie Bolden said the lab’s formation was a community effort. She said the lab was a two-year project, adding that it took many trips to see other collaboration labs to get a feel for the concept.

Bolden said a design and technology team came to ECMS to view where the lab is now. Bolden said with the help of Assistant Superintendent Beth Drew and the design team, the concept of the lab originated.

“This is truly a community project,” Drew said.

Drew added that the school system is thankful to Mobile County for allowing representatives to tour their collaboration labs.

The Gulf Coast RC&D Council, which is made up of Escambia County, Mobile County, Baldwin County and the Poarch Creek Indians, made a check presentation during the unveiling.

Other than RC&D, several community organizations and businesses contributed to help fund the lab.

Dale Ash, co-owner of Pepsi-Cola Co. of Atmore, said the Atmore Community Foundation contributed, and United Bank matched the ACF donation. Additionally, Masland Carpets donated the carpet; G&H Systems LLC; PHD Realty, Brown Precision and PCI, among others, contributed.