Legacy Christian Academy Unveils All-New Science Lab & Discovery Hall
January, 2018 - Issue #160

Round the corner through Legacy Christian Academy's main corridor and you'll quickly find yourself in uncharted territory: the Kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school's new Discovery Hall, home to Legacy's recently-completed Innovation and Science Labs.

"As an educational community that prides itself on accelerated academics and the preparation of students for success in the competitive 21st-century global marketplace, Discovery Hall and our new Labs are a wonderful reflection of the importance we place on STEAM," says Superintendent and Legacy Christian Academy Co-founder Tim Borruel. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) education is becoming increasingly vital, with government officials regularly bemoaning that not enough Americans are entering STEAM fields.

But kids don't have to rank STEAM as their favorite subject to incredibly benefit from embedded instruction that crosses subject matter and curriculum. "So much of Legacy's STEAM programming and curriculum revolves around problem solving, which is an essential skill in our ever-changing world. In our classrooms and dedicated Innovation and Science Labs, students are taught how to question, collaborate and address today's most pressing problems. Even our youngest students are able to answer complex queries and develop multi-stage solutions to real-world issues. Our students are logical thinkers, skilled communicators and are scientifically, mathematically and technologically literate. These skills are setting them up for success today, in high school, college and beyond," says Borruel.

All the technology in the world won't create the groundbreakers of tomorrow, though, if the right person isn't in the front of a high-tech classroom. "Parents are very surprised to learn that every Legacy child, even our youngest students, benefit from Science instruction with a teacher who has specialized education, training and experience in the field. Our differentiated subjects and instructors allow for deeper exploration of the material, resulting in a more full understanding of how our world 'works,'" says Legacy's Director of Educational Oversight and Co-founder Donna Borruel.

"Our STEAM teachers put Legacy students on a pathway to real-world application. On the average day, our Academy students are engaging hands on with today's most innovative technology, like 3D printers. They're attending enrichment Robotics classes or competing in junior high and high school robotics competitions. Some might be learning new theories because they'll be representing Legacy at the upcoming regional Science Olympiad at Occidental College; we've earned 'gold' every year we've attended. Others are furiously scribbling on the wipe-off walls in the Innovation Lab, planning a Rube Goldberg STEAM Expo project with friends, collaborating with peers and their teacher to solve real-world environmental problems, or getting up close with any one of over 24 species in our dual-sided observation aquariums and terrariums," says Head of School Matt Millett.

"Local high-school counselors and teachers often talk about 'the Legacy advantage.' We regularly hear that our students outperform, and outplace, those from other programs because of our accelerated curriculum and emphasis of STEAM. The vast majority of our Legacy alums place in AP and Honors Math, Science and English classes in high school and a jaw-dropping number end up majoring in STEAM fields in college. It's especially exciting to see how many young-women alums are going into STEAM careers, since the field is still disproportionately male. We make sure that every student's introduction to STEAM is accompanied by all the tools, support and guidance needed to give them the confidence and ability to thrive in the field, no matter what school they attend in the future," says Donna Borruel.

Where Innovation is Fueled
Legacy's Innovation Lab, launched last year, is where learners interact with today's most vibrant technology - and each other. This highly-interactive space has been customized for maximum flexibility; wheeled, risible glass tables can be re-arranged for a TED X Talk - or robotics competition. "Legacy students learn everything about technology beginning in Kindergarten. When they're really little, it's about how to right click, how to open and save, how to print, how to make capital letters, how to do word processing. Older kids do spreadsheets, learn how to make websites, how to set up a wireless network, how to do coding, how to make presentations, how to build a computer. In middle school we focus on media, resume writing, using the Google App suite. We always incorporate lessons from their classroom. For example, in second grade they're learning about pollution; in Computers, they use their knowledge to research and make their first slideshow," explains Legacy Computer Teacher and IT Director Carl Astrera.

Where Science is Inspired
The brand-new Legacy Science Lab has been created to cultivate a truly-immersive experience. "When they walk into the room, every sense is engaged," says Tim Borruel. "If they're learning about the ocean, the space will 'become' the ocean floor. They'll hear the sounds of the ocean while realistic imagery travels over the ceiling and wall space, putting them 'in' the zone they are studying. They'll do experiments with sea water while observing sea creatures in our aquarium. We're engaging every part of their brain, every learning style, to optimize their ability to innovate, create, learn and critically engage."
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