STEAM education at AHS & the Innovation Design Institute

We live in a world that is changing more rapidly than ever before. At Arcata High School, we want to make sure our students can realize success in such a world. Success depends on the ability to think and act creatively, reason systematically, work collaboratively, and learn continuously. This is true not just for individuals, but for schools, and communities.

The Innovation Design Institute, IDI, focuses on preparing students to function with success in a complex, 21st century, world. IDI is a sequenced, curricular pathway where technology and science meet design and innovation. Our CTE (career technical education) pathway is Product Innovation and Design, within the industry sector of Manufacturing.

IDI instruction focuses on engaging students in project-based learning that emphasizes creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, and communication and collaboration. Our students have learning opportunities that center around actively constructing knowledge through the art of making.

This program has a maker’s space (called the CoLab) as the high technology hub of the program, with spokes reaching out, and utilizing all of AHS’s dynamic art, woodshop, metalshop, autoshop, science, and computer facilities. IDI also collaborates with AAI (Arcata Arts Institute) in many interdisciplinary projects.

Our IDI program is STEAM education where core disciplines (science, math, engineering, and the arts) can collide, sparking creativity and innovation.

Within the IDI program and the Colab space students work collaboratively and individually innovating, designing and fabricating products that improve people’s lives locally and globally.

Students have access to teacher facilitators, industry experts, and industry standard software, technology and equipment.

Our approach is based on 4 guiding principles:

Projects: People learn best when they are actively working on projects – generating new ideas, designing prototypes, making improvements, and creating final products.

Peers: Learning flourishes as a social activity, with people sharing ideas, collaborating on projects, and building on one another’s work.

Play: Learning involves playful experimentation – trying new things, tinkering with materials, testing boundaries, taking risks, iterating again and again.

Passion: When people work on projects they care about, they work longer and harder, persist in the face of challenges, and learn more in the process.