Normandy Elementary unveils The Hive
Colorful wall murals, flexible seating, wireless technology and plenty of hands-on materials come together in The Hive, a new learning space at Bay Village's Normandy Elementary School designed to inspire creative and collaborative problem-solving. Students in kindergarten through grade 2 have already begun solving challenges designed by their teachers in this busy learning center where failure is applauded as a necessary step to learning.
“For years, I have dreamed of creating a space for Bay’s K-2 children that would stretch both students and teachers to think a little differently, and for students to experience STEAM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activities,” said Normandy Elementary Principal Dan Sebring. He said teachers on his STEAM committee studied the concept last year and helped develop a common vision for the space.
Thanks in part to an $8,000 donation from the Normandy Elementary PTA for Chromebooks, the former computer lab has been redesigned into a learning environment that encourages experimentation toward solutions. Wireless technology integrates with hands-on materials. Collaboration is easier in large, flexible spaces. Students can meet with their peers at tables, on colorful carpets with cushions on the floor, or on carpeted steps that offer many levels for presentation and comfort.
“One of the first challenges for student teams was to design the tallest towers using paper cups,” said Sebring. “They needed to sketch out a design, discuss their design with peers, and then work together with several peers to implement their ideas. It was incredible to watch them communicating, implementing, failing, and then persevering.”
Sebring plans to add additional materials provided in part by a grant from the Bay Village Education Foundation. “We’ll be adding programmable little robots, puzzles and activities that integrate with online learning software, and lots of Legos.”
Sebring explained that a primary focus for Normandy students was also the first of eight district mathematical practices – to make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. “This is where perseverance becomes a habit,” he said. “As one of our teachers stated, ‘FAIL stands for First Attempt Is Learning.’ You learn when you try something, and when it doesn’t work, you persevere until you succeed.”
Director of Communications for the Bay Village City School District