The Cube (Innovation Lab)
Center for Inspiration, Innovation, and Investigation
The Center for Inspiration, Innovation, and Investigation is an innovation lab and central maker-space for all students grades junior kindergarten through 12th grade at Columbia Independent School. The mission of the Center, also known as CI3 or “The Cube,” is to nurture and grow students’ natural curiosity through hands-on projects focusing on STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
Students are given the opportunity to create, construct, and develop important skills like brainstorming, critical thinking, and collaboration. Computer-aided design, tinkering, computer programming, basic electronics, circuitry, and engineering are just a few of the ways in which this is accomplished. Students work on curriculum-based projects and also have regularly scheduled progressive learning time in The Cube throughout the school year. Additionally, clubs and independent study opportunities are available. The Cube also provides resources and space for construction events for the CIS Science Olympiad teams and for community events such as The Cardboard Challenge (the concept being similar to Caine’s Arcade) and Hour of Code.
Current Cube Projects
New projects are continually being thought up and implemented in The Cube. Examples of current projects include:
- Upper School Cube Class is designing, building, and programming projects using general circuitry and construction skills, Autodesk Fusion 360 CAD software, 3D Printing, and Arduino Micro-controllers. Projects include: robotic hand, flying jellyfish, RC blimp, RC quadcopters and planes, desalination device, arduino controlled weather station, and tesla coil.
- Anatomy and Physiology students are designing and building prosthetic hands and joint models.
- Middle School Physical Science and Earth Science students are planning and designing experiments for high altitude balloon launches. Each year, the eighth grade students launch a weather balloon to great success. (Read more and see a video here!)
- Third grade is building cardboard cities that are enhanced with electrical circuits to provide lights and motion.
- First through fourth grades are learning about lego robotics and scratch programming.
Lower, middle, and upper school clubs are offered for students at CIS.
Club Cube meets before school for students in grades 1-8. Topics range from computer programming, to designing and printing on the 3-D printer, to learning basic electronics.
Students in grades 4-8 have started an after school Lego Mindstorms Robotics Club.