In The Schools

That's the IDEA: Oak Knoll's 'Makerspace' Lab Creates Positive Buzz

Children working in the IDEAS Lab – which stands for Innovation, Design, Engineering, Arts and Science. Credits: Oak Knoll School

SUMMIT, NJ -  Oak Knoll School introduced its first-ever 'makerspace' this fall, intending to encourage students in grades K-6 to ideate, design and create computer and engineering projects in a way that allows for more experimentation, exploration and self-direction.

Kimberly Connolly, Lower School technology integrator, is dubbing the space an IDEAS Lab – standing for Innovation, Design, Engineering, Arts and Science.

“We’re defining it as a place where students can come to generate ideas, play around ‘safely,’ test them, feel free to fail and try again to build,” said Connolly. “We plan to use our technology to bring ideas to life.”

Sign Up for E-News

Connolly said the IDEAS Lab will provide a cross-curricular environment that will provide tangible educational benefits for students. 

“Students need to be able to think critically, problem-solve and work together in order to succeed. The makerspace makes this possible by providing an environment for students to collaborate and bounce ideas off one another as they ‘make’ something together,” she said.

Connolly said the IDEAS Lab will provide a hands-on experience for students to be creative and inventive.

“The lab will encourage students to design, experiment, build, tinker and invent as they engage in science, engineering and mathematics,” she said.

An early example of students generating such “ideas” has come in the form of kindergartners creating an LED circuit. As part of the project, students had to think about what sort of things could generate light, such as the sun or a firefly, and to draw pictures of the objects.

Connolly is excited that the lab is already generating a great deal of curiosity on campus despite the effort being in its infancy. 

Growing interest and introducing students to the IDEAS Lab are just the first steps, with Connolly hoping to also create a Maker Club for fifth and sixth graders. Another long-term goal is having students further explore technology and getting them in the habit of embracing student-centered based learning rather than teacher-directed group lessons.

“This first year will be a learning curve for both the students and myself. With a tremendous amount of support, we will learn through this year what works and what we need moving forward.”

Part of the space’s natural progression will also be adding more tools, such as a laser cutter or drone, to the lab’s bevy of devices that already include a 3-D printer, Little Bits electronics, Lego Mindstorm robotics kits, laptops and Chromebooks.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Sat, April 21, 2:00 PM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Grades K-5: Saturday Serendipity

Arts & Entertainment Education


Sun, April 22, 8:00 AM

Summit Summer Farmers Market, Summit

Summit Farmers Market

Community Calendar Food & Drink Green Health & Wellness


Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

17 Kent Place Boulevard, Summit

Self-Care Event

Health & Wellness Religions And Spirituality

Summit Fire Department Blotter

02/01/2018, 7:26 am - FD dispatched to Route 78 East Bound mile marker 47.2 for a reported motor vehicle accident with entrapment and injuries. On arrival both the Springfield and Summit Fire Departments set up for extrication. The vehicle was chocked to stabilize the vehicle. EMS performed patient care. A hose line was stretched for possible fire suppression by the Berkeley Heights FD.

Summit Police Blotter

April 11, 2018

3/13 - Jayhee Cho, 32, of Summit was arrested and charged with criminal mischief. Mr. Cho was processed and released with a pending court date.

3/13 - Aseyefigh K. Papanye, 30, of Brooklyn, New York was arrested and charged with theft of credit cards, fraudulent use of credit cards, theft by deception, theft by unlawful taking, obstruction of the administration of the law, and possession of ...

Audio: Point View's Petrides Says Despite Company Growth, Netflix Stock Valuation Just Too High

April 18, 2018

Point View Wealth Management's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live on Bloomberg Radio discussing what to do with Netflix stock post the strong quarterly results:

Note -  interview starts at 2:00-minute mark.

For nearly 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in ...

Team Veronica Holds "Be the Match" Drive Apr. 23

Team Veronica is coming to a town near you!

Veronica is a seven-year-old who is in need of a bone marrow transplant. Be The Match is a national registry for finding a match(es) for a bone marrow transplant. It is a simple swab test of the inside of your mouth. 

On Mon., April 23, Be The Match will be at the Bayonne Fire House from 3 - 7 p.m.

Veronica of West ...

Fear of Rising Rates? Remember The Reason You Own Bonds

If the current interest environment has you concerned about your bond portfolio, remember why you are investing in bonds.  The role bonds, or fixed income, play in a portfolio is not solely based on performance.  Bonds are used to offer stability, particularly when stock market volatility is rising. Rate hikes can dampen bond performance, but keep perspective on how rising rates impact ...

Cluelessly Clueless

I teenaged my way through high school under the assumption that my parents had no idea what I was doing.  I like to think I was pretty good at withholding information and presenting situations in ways that were other than they really were.


Still, sometimes they found things out.  Like the time my friends plopped me on our front door step at one o'clock in the morning ...

Practice for the PARCC @ Your Library

Students in Grades 3 and up who live in Summit can practice the Math and Language Arts skills that they learned in school and prepare for the upcoming PARCC exam using the Summit Free Public Library’s FREE subscriptions to Lumos Step Up and Learning Express.  

To access Lumos Step Up and Learning Express, visit the library’s website:

Mouse-over ...