SD LabRats
Empowering youth to make a better world through science and technology.
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Philosophy

 

Our Philosophy

Project-based learning is critical to student success. It helps develop and enhance student learning by encouraging critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and self-management. We believe students learn best by doing, especially when they are self-motivated and pursue their own ideas and interests independently, with guidance from someone more knowledgeable when needed.

 

Why Learn Science?

An education in science and technology is nothing less the power to transform the entire world with a single idea! We carry out inspirational exercises that show members that the modern world was created by hundreds of thousands of people who understood how nature worked and who were skilled at solving practical problems. While a few made truly incredible contributions, most made more modest advancements. You may not know their names, but every one of them lived their lives knowing they had made a difference.

 

Our Teaching Methods

Students need an environment to explore, to ask questions, and to be challenged overall. But they also need a knowledgeable mentor to guide them along their journeys. Our teachers are scientists, who have conducted specialized research on their own and have a passion for passing on their knowledge and expertise to the next generation. Our program takes ideas and concepts students would normally only encounter in textbooks and integrates them through an engaging approach. We use hands-on, exciting labs and demos that are related to real world scenarios. Additionally, this emphasizes to students that science created the modern marvels that surround us today.

Everything we do is designed to instill a growth mindset in students. Our labs heavily motivate students to think through problems rather than just follow directions. When a student asks us a “what if” question, we respond with “let’s try it.”

Students in our classes discover that working through difficult problems is how they learn, and that just because they don’t understand something at first, doesn’t mean that they never will. This yields them with the confidence to believe in themselves instead of shutting down when encountering future problems.

Extracurricular programs such as organized sports and Boy/Girl Scouts have been very effective at fostering an atmosphere of community, and we follow a similar social model in our classrooms. We include elements of teamwork and competition into our lesson plans to build confidence, develop community, and encourage students to participate and learn actively. All of this produces a classroom environment that is dynamic and fun rather than the traditional "sit and listen" environment students experience in school on a daily basis.

The LabRats Code of Honor

  • Be fair, kind and generous to all

  • Respect yourself and all others

  • Never cheat or accept the cheating of others

  • Think like a scientist

  • Always do the smart thing

  • Always follow through

  • Work for a higher purpose