Our Teaching Methods

Encouraging growth

Students need an environment to explore, to ask questions, and to be challenged overall. But they also need a knowledgeable mentor to guide them along their journeys. Our teachers are scientists, who have conducted specialized research on their own and have a passion for passing on their knowledge and expertise to the next generation. Our program takes ideas and concepts students would normally only encounter written in textbooks, and integrates them through an engaging approach. We use hands-on, exciting labs and demos that are related to real world scenarios. Additionally, this emphasizes to students that science created the modern marvels that surround us today.

Everything we do is designed to instill a growth mindset in students. Our labs heavily motivate students to think through problems, rather than just follow directions. We provide the task that they are trying to accomplish and also provide them with the necessary materials needed to complete it. When a student asks us a “what if” question, we respond with “let’s try it.” Students in our classes discover that working through difficult problems is how they learn, and that just because they don’t understand something at first, doesn’t mean that they never will. This yields them with the confidence to believe in themselves instead of shutting down when encountering future problems.

Extracurricular programs outside of school such as sports and Boy/Girl Scouts have been very effective at fostering an atmosphere of community, and we follow a similar social model in our classrooms. We include elements of teamwork and competition into our lesson plans to build confidence, develop community, and encourage students to participate and learn actively. All of this produces a classroom environment that is dynamic and fun rather than the traditional "sit and listen" environment students experience in school on a daily basis.

Fostering Engagement

Our approach aims to inspire young people to love learning about science and motivate them to put in the necessary hard work to achieve proficient competency in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, (STEM). We feature an innovative teaching philosophy developing Self, Social, and Custodial Engagement. Additionally, this helps young people discover their passions, cultivate strong bonds of friendship and sportsmanship, and provides role models in the scientific community. LabRats’ learner-centered courses and camps are designed to deepen every members’ interests in science and technology through a curriculum that is as flexible and as diverse as our individual students’ interests and talents.

Self-engagement:

Education research has suggested that the most effective way to improve academic performance is to focus more on meeting the intellectual and emotional needs of the students as individuals, rather than focusing on boosting the average test scores of global populations of students. Overcoming life’s obstacles requires grit and tenacity. LabRats strives to cultivate an unbreakable commitment within each student to become thoroughly literate in STEM. We use only the best practices known to cognitive psychology to inspire young people to achieve an authentic mastery of STEM content and to develop empirical habits of mind.

Social engagement:

Since people generally succeed more in life when they are supported by family and close friends, LabRats also cultivates strong bonds of friendship and sportsmanship within the program so that students can support each other by coming together on a mutual commitment to work toward a common goal. TEST

Custodial engagement:

We strive to provide all youth with the best role models in the scientific community. We want scientists teaching science from the ground up, and not just starting from college. Our mentors know from experience what it takes to earn a science degree, and what it truly means to be a scientist. They teach from personal expertise the level of commitment needed to succeed in science and instill the moral standards needed in the scientific community.