The Innovation Playground

A Unique K-8 STEM  Learning Experience
Serving Elk Grove & Sacramento

 

MMM… Learning

We spark and nourish your child’s interest in Robotics, Computational Thinking & Engineering in a fun, new and better way that is “Meaningful, Memorable & Motivational.”

(No more restrictive and boring tech camp playpens here!)

PROGRAM

A UNIQUE STEM, ROBOTICS & MAKER PLAYGROUND

Meaningful Projects

Meaningful Projects

Students learn best when they are actively working on meaningful projects they care about – generating new ideas, designing prototypes, refining iteratively

Collaborative Peers

Collaborative Peers

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

Purposeful Passion

Purposeful 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

Joy of a Playful Spirit

Joy of a Playful Spirit

Learning involves having a playful spirit to experiment – trying new things, tinkering with a variety of materials, testing boundaries, taking risks, iterating again and again.

FIND OUT WHEN OUR NEXT CLASSES START

Design Thinking

An Innovative Way to Solve Problems

EMPATHY, DEFINE, IDEATE, PROTOTYPE, TEST, REPEAT

As taught and used by IDEO, Stanford’s “d.School,” and other leading schools, companies & organizations

 

Testimonials

What Parents Are Saying

“The thing I liked about the program is the structure and the environment. It was very comfortable for my son to want to learn.”

“I thought the challenges were fun and gets the mind twirling. The thinking challenges are quite valuable, especially as a team, because diverse ideas come into play in the process of seeking effective solutions. Thank you, Fred & Sharon & Family!”

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for my kids to think outside the box. What stood out was the hands-on learning! My children had fun!”

“What stood out was the seamless team dynamic with the kids. Great stuff! I truly hope this great opportunity continues. Thank you both for bringing this jewel to the Elk Grove community. And welcome home!”

“Very valuable!! Your lessons encourage creative thinking and teamwork and cooperation! The teamwork and creative thinking that was encouraged. I love your enthusiasm for the subject matter and encouragement for the kids!”

“I think they [the skills we focused on] are critical to the future success of our children. What was unique was that the kids of all ages and backgrounds interacting with each other in a fun learning environment. Your enthusiasm for the subject and overall knowledge is apparent. My child was super excited afterward. Thank you!!”

“Your teaching style really stood out and engaging! Our son responded very well to that!”

John, Parent of 8 year old

“It is a fun learning program with a unique approach to stimulating the minds of the students.”

Coleen L. Parent of 10 y/o

Want to Learn More?

About

Sharon Jaravata
Fred Jaravata
Sharon Jaravata

Sharon Jaravata

Sharon is a veteran teacher of 17 years.  She has taught 2-6th grades.  As an Experienced Elementary School Teacher (English Plus/ELD) she has demonstrated a history of working in both Public and Independent schools.

Sharon is skilled in the effective use of Educational Technology, K-12 Education, Common Core State Standards, Design Thinking, Parent Engagement, Lucy Caulkins Writer’s Workshop and Classroom Management.

Sharon graduated from National University with a Masters of Science in Instructional Administration since 2010.

Find out more about Sharon here on LinkedIn.

Fred Jaravata

Fred Jaravata

Director Educational Innovation

With over 19 years in K-12 and specializes in Educational Technology, Innovation, and Learning, Fred is a recognized Edtech leader in the makerspace movement in schools, He has presented in many local and national Edtech events for several years sharing strategies and insights to create a successful and empowering technology program in schools.

It is Fred’s belief that, educational technology and innovation must be meaningful, memorable and motivational to empower all learners.

Fred holds a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from the University of San Francisco since 2010.

You can find more about Fred on LinkedIn.

Resources

Dear Families and Friends,

As many students want to keep going with the tools we use in our Innovation Playground Creative Thinking Makerspace program, we are making them available for you here to continue at home.

Before digging into the awesome resources we know and trust, here is an important disclosure:

Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, we will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that we have real-world experience with all of these resources, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful to you and your families, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something. We can help answer any of your questions regarding these resources. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you and your family achieve your goals.

mBots


One of the best robotics platform for 4-12th grade students to learn how to build and code a robot.  This robot is expandable and will grow with your child’s interest in STEM. Students can mix low tech resources like cardboard, tape, pipe cleaners and more to expand abilities.

*Note: You though it does come with a remote control, to get the most out of it, you’ll need to use a tablet, smartphone or PC to dive in with coding the mBot.  Works with iPads, new Kindles, Chrome books and other laptops.  Please refer to the Amazon page for details as they get updated.

Cubelets

A student favorite of all ages!  Beginners will learn how a robot works with color-coded cubes that each have a special ability (input, output, passive etc) that makes a robot tick.  Easily one of the best robotics platforms for students! Plus, it comes with a Lego Brick Adapter to add Lego pieces!  Cubelets can be expanded by adding a Bluetooth Cubelet where you can program them using the Blockly visual program.

Lego Boost

Lego Boost Robotics for KidsLego’s newest member of its robotics line, the Lego Boost is fast becoming a student favorite.  It sits between the Lego Wedo 2.0 and the Lego Mindstorms.  It is designed for 7-12 year olds and offers 5-in-1 creations.  This is a very good choice for kids who want to start building robots as they are already familiar with Lego.  You will need to download the app to control it and start coding.

 

Scratch Programming (Free)

Designed by the famed MIT group, the Lifelong Kindergarten Group, students of all levels will learn how to code in easy visual block-based programming.  This platform removes the frustration and anxiousness for students who are intimidated by traditional text-based coding.

 

 

Makedo Cardboard Construction Kit


This technology combines old school screwdriver building technology with a 21st Century twist!  It uses plastic “scrus” with easy to use “scru”drivers and sawing tools to create amazing cardboard creations.  See some examples here