St. John the Baptist students hit the ground running with a new 'maker' program  

The 5th and 6th graders made great progress on their robots during the first day of the new "maker" program at St. John the Baptist School in Vermillion.

Creativity, problem solving, collaboration, grit, confidence. These are skills that are keys to success, especially in the 21st century. St. John the Baptist School in Vermillion is piloting a new "maker" program to foster these skills. Well-known for the school's annual science fair, these students are now challenged to work collaboratively and to leverage all their knowledge, skills and creativity to create things of value. This fall, the rural Catholic school will pilot the program in the 5th and 6th grades. It will include several "seed" projects to give students exposure to various disciplines, including robotics, visual arts, computer programming, movie making and audio production. The students will then be challenged to identify and complete a "passion project," in which they spend several weeks creating something of their choosing. The learnings from the 5th and 6th grade program will be used to roll out the program in the other grades.   "If you like to build and like to learn, do the maker program," said an engaged 6th grader on the first day of the program.   Maker programs and makerspaces are a rapidly growing trend in schools and communities. To learn more, Google "maker programs" or "makerspaces," or visit here. If you'd like to volunteer to coach the school's "makers," please contact Principal Mike Strommen at St. John the Baptist School in Vermillion.