EAST TROY -- Most Milwaukee area schools returned to classes last week, but a handful had a few extra days off.
East Troy is among them, and it seems students there were looking forward to going back, for good reason. At Prairie View Elementary, students have a whole new classroom to explore. It's one of three smart labs at East Troy schools, not to be confused with computer labs.
“In a computer lab, you’re probably not going in and working on circuitry. In a computer lab, you’re probably not going in and working on simple machines or graphic designing necessarily, you might, and you’re probably not working on broadcasting necessarily just alone. In here you’re getting exposed to a variety of content areas," said Chris Hibner, East Troy Schools District Administrator.
Students are using things like Lego bricks. A ten-year-old boy built a crocodile and named it "Chomping Steve" and then made that crocodile come to life on the computer screen.
“Instead of me just telling him 'well this is how you do it, let me show you,' he went forward and he watched YouTube videos and...next thing you know, he’s got a coded Lego product that is Chomping Steve, (laughs)” said Brian Beierle, Smart Lab Facilitator.
Two of the three smart labs were built over the summer. The third will be installed in East Troy's newest school to open next year, all at a price tag of $500,000.
Other school districts in our area that had their first day back Tuesday include the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District, Sheboygan Falls, Plymouth, Elkhorn and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.