Learn more about the Innovation Award finalists
1. The Cane Institute for Advanced Technologies, A.D. Henderson University School and FAU High School, Boca Raton
Founded by Dan Cane, The Cane Institute serves as the epicenter for STEM education and technology transfer for A.D. Henderson & FAU High School.
The Institute’s integrated approach to solving society’s toughest problems engages the best and brightest students, faculty, and resources at the school to explore today’s most complex challenges in the STEM arenas. The Cane Institute (TCI) has become the premier blueprint for a K-12 STEM continuum.
The K-5 Cane Institute STEAM program exposes students to “drop and drag” coding as early as Kindergarten, along with elementary Lego robotics, TinkerCAD, and various other robotics platforms. For middle school students, TCI focuses on underwater and terrestrial robotics, CAD, 3-D printing, laser cutting, virtual reality (VR), drones, rocketry, Science Fair, and Discovery 3M Top Young Scientist Challenge. The TCI high school program is extraordinary. Students work with high-end 3-D printers, CAD design, CNC mills – additive and subtractive manufacturing, robotics, underwater robotics, unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), animatronics, Science Fair, Science Olympiad, International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), electric, solar, and autonomous vehicles. Students have won state, national, and world championships at all age levels, including robotics, underwater robotics, Science Fair, SECME, ISEF, and more.
The Cane Institute also serves as a community partner to other school districts in Florida and across the globe. TCI has trained over 15,000 students and 1500 teachers, helping other institutions stand up their STEM programs. The Cane Institute has become a model to follow as an incubator for the STEM workforce and researchers of tomorrow.
2. The Greene School, West Palm Beach
The Greene School’s Pathways to STEM Program places an early emphasis on technology and design thinking skills as students from as young as 4 years old are introduced to the foundational skills used in computer science, engineering, and scientific investigations. As students progress through the program they graduate from simpler age-appropriate lessons on block-based coding and web-based 3D design to more advanced lessons that include text-based coding, CAD software, and advanced fabrication tools such as CNCs, 3D printers, vinyl cutters, and laser cutters. The program emphasizes student ownership and they are encouraged to learn not only the proper and safe use of tools but also how to troubleshoot common issues. The vast majority of lessons within the program are project-based and cross-curricular including hands-on experience with both soil-based and hydroponic gardens.
Greene School students have been recognized nationally and internationally at STEM competitions, including three regional finalists and a regional winner in the national Games for Change Competition, a finalist in the international Make:Able Challenge, and state and international qualifying robotics teams. Students within the program also regularly drive charitable causes such as delivering slime making kits to pediatric cancer patients and fundraising for a variety of nonprofits by using the maker tools and skills learned within the program.
3. STEAM Education, Citrus Cove Elementary School, Boynton Beach
At Citrus Cove Elementary School, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Mathematics) inspires our students, not only in the classroom, but outside as well. It gives all our students the opportunity to explore the arts in an environment that is structured with a growth mindset. In school, Michelle Richards’ innovative STEAM Lab taps into students’ intrinsic motivation by creating a desire for learning. She works with a diverse population of students from Kindergarten through 5th grade as part of their fine arts curriculum. When walking into the STEAM Lab, you will see scientists engaged in a small group innovative science lesson, while the rest of the class is successfully working in interactive STEAM stations. Students are engaged in visual, auditory, and hands-on learning experiences. Richards creates hands-on interactive lessons, where her students become problem solvers and develop higher-order thinking skills. She is constantly looking for innovative ways to infuse STEAM education at Citrus Cove Elementary. She has created monthly STEAM challenges for students, where they can showcase their creativity and ingenuity. Richards has also implemented a “Home STEAM Home” section in the school’s newsletter that gives families ideas for STEAM activities they can do at home with their children. In addition, she has led the school in becoming an Everglades Champion School. Because of Richards’ efforts, students have become environmentally aware. This has empowered them to not only care about local ecosystems, but to become the next generation of conservation stewards for our community.
4. The Technology and Innovation Center, The Mandel Public Library, West Palm Beach
The digital creators’ space at the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach is transitioning its cutting-edge mission to a new name: the Technology & Innovation Center. The Center is located on the second floor of the Mandel Public Library at 411 Clematis Street. It empowers creativity and collaboration, providing media production spaces in several leading technologies: virtual reality; media digitization; drawing and animation; music and podcasting; and 3D design & printing. One of the newest additions to the library’s newly redesigned Digital Studio is a Whisper Room, a 5-by-5-foot soundproof booth where visitors can use the library’s wi-fi for activities like job interviews, listening to music or even recording podcasts, free from outside noise interference.
Patrons can drop by during Open Access hours or book a session to use the studio for projects like creating 3D sculptures in virtual reality, animating digital works, recording podcast episodes, accessing the driving simulator and more.
The West Palm Beach Library Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization formed in 2000 to support the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach. It holds activities and events to financially sustain the library’s free programs, services, and resources for children, teens, and adults that enrich the diverse community. For more information or to donate to the foundation, please visit https://www.wpblf.org.