Schechter Experience

Popkin Innovation Lab

Popkin Innovation Lab

Our Popkin Innovation Lab is a distinctive maker space that includes a Design & Learning Studio, as well as a Machines Room with real world tools such as 3D printers, woodworking tools, and a laser cutter. In this space, students are encouraged to demonstrate Playfulness, Openness, and Perseverance known as “POP" as they learn to fear less and invent more. First- through Eighth- Grade students are empowered to problem solve and take risks through skill-based projects and rapid prototyping challenges that are carefully crafted by our Design faculty to promote and enhance our students' knowledge of design thinking, creative thinking, and computational thinking. As these critical thinking skills develop through our Design course, so do other essential 21st century skills such as communication and collaboration, as students work in teams to create solutions, reflect, and iterate. Our faculty are encouraged to promote interdisciplinary learning using the tools provided in our "POP" Lab, which has resulted in deeper and more engaging learning opportunities in both General and Judaic Studies classes. Highlights include 3-D printed animal cells, Science Fair projects with robotic components, and even a Mishkan built to scale! Our goal in Design is to expose students to computer science and creative thinking, while supporting their curiosity and growth to develop their interests and potential passions.

1-4 Kehillah

Starting in First Grade our students experience design thinking on a weekly basis in our Popkin Innovation Lab through STEAM activities and rapid prototype challenges that help fuel their curiosity, build their understanding of innovation, and practice collaboration skills. Students practice 3D modeling with items like cardboard and Legos, and then move into physical computing and programming skills using tools like the Hummingbird Robotics kits and digital platforms including Scratch and Scratch Junior. Students work on basic technology skills and graphic design with 1:1 iPads and a variety of projects that are integrated with their General and Judaic Studies classrooms — like creating laser cut posters and buttons in the POP Lab to enhance PSA messaging for the  Fourth Grade Social Action Fair.

5-8 Kehillah

Building on the foundation of their 1-4 Kehillot Design classes, students in our 5-8 Kehillot dig deeper to develop their design thinking and problem solving skills.  

For example, the Fifth-Grade Game Arcade unit inspires students to develop empathy and understanding of a user’s experience, a key component of the design thinking cycle, as students invent unique interactive Makey Makey arcade games for their younger peers. Students are encouraged to strengthen these designs by eliciting feedback from the younger students (their clients) to improve their products. As students grow, they become more advanced in their understanding of electric circuits through tools such as Little Bits and projects that involve physical modeling with cardboard and design challenges - like building a stand for your cell phone. Physical modeling makes way to digital modeling as students learn to use Tinkercad to 3-D print using one of the 3D printers in our "Pop" Lab. Students advance their programming skills using Scratch and eventually develop their own websites, as well as online games and Apps. The Popkin Lab is also used as a meeting point to elevate classroom projects and advance learning, such as using our laser cutter to shape fins for water bottle rockets in Science. Students are encouraged to explore their creativity and design interest through clubs and passion projects that are also offered in our 5-8 Kehillot.
275 McKinley Ave. | New Milford, NJ 07646 | Phone: 201-262-9898 | Fax: 201-262-3026 |