Westminster’s Innovation Cohort brings concepts to life

Westminster’s Innovation Cohorts, which consist of eight Upper School teachers from different grade levels and subject areas who work together to bring students’ visions and interests to life, has just launched its new initiative to introduce creative projects into the classroom through machinery in the Catalyst Lab, such as the 3-D printer and laser cutter. 

Cohort member and physics teacher Evan Munger is already bringing one of these projects into his classroom. 

“I’m really into the idea of bringing art and story into classes,” said Munger.“I wanted a way for students to tell a story of their own.” 

Munger’s AP physics classes are working on a project that incorporates their knowledge of data with a story about their life and one of their interests. Through the project, Munger hopes his students see themselves as valued and welcomed members of the Westminster community. 

“Traditionally in physics, not everybody has been able to see themselves through a physics lens because it is historically very white and male,” said Munger.  “This gives everyone a chance to see themselves as a part of something they might not think they are a part of and be able to tell a story about themselves through this.” 

Other teachers have also begun including this initiative into their curriculum. For example, freshman Luke Baugher has been working in his Spanish class on a Day of the Dead-inspired candle. His favorite machine is the 3-D printer, which he is using to design part of his candle. 

“I want to make a skull on my candle to represent the Day of the Dead,” said Baugher. “I am going to design this with a program online and then import it to the 3-D printer to print out.” 

Similarly, freshman Trevor Dempsey has been using the Catalyst Lab to incorporate his creative vision into his Mars rover project for his physics class.

“My partner and I used the art materials, like spray paint, and it really helped us bring our vision to life.” 

The new innovation cohort initiative provides Westminster students with the opportunity to engage with their learning in innovative ways with the resources in the Catalyst Lab.