Leaders, Students Excited About New VW E-Labs

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A robot and rockets made by students at Red Bank Elementary in their VW E-Lab.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF)- More students in Hamilton County will get access to a unique educational opportunity.

The young Lions at Red Bank Elementary are learning subjects in their classrooms that once would’ve been a pipe dream to learn in public education.

Now leaders are hoping their experiences will be replicated in multiple schools across the county.

Jackson Martin, a student at Red Bank Elementary, said, “It’s really cool to have these resources, so that you’re easily able to make stuff. You don’t have to go through the trouble to get stuff.”

The Public Education Foundation announced this morning that 17 new E-Labs will be built at public schools in the Chattanooga area.

This is part of a 5.3 million dollar grant from Volkswagen, as they are building 34 labs here and near their American headquarters in the Washington D-C Suburbs.

The labs will be focused on environmental remediation efforts as the labs will provide high tech equipment for students as soon as they are in Kindergarten.

Hamilton County superintendent Dr. Justin Robertson said, “What we’re able to do now is able to see is to look at what we’re trying to graduate, look at the end product of our students. Not just thinking about elementary learning experiences, but really thinking about what we want students to look like when they graduate.”

Leaders hope these E-Labs close gaps that may exist now within public education system.

Hamilton County Mayor Weston Wamp said, “You realize in a community with such deep roots in private education, we are making up some lost ground and getting to a place where there are offerings in all parts of the county in the public school system that aren’t matched in our private schools.”

Those offerings were on full display as several students at Red Bank Elementary showed off their projects including creating their own lip balm, rockets , and even robots.

Another student, Liam Ashley, said “This is a micro bit that we made. It’s a robot that can draw shapes, and we had to code it to draw these shapes.”

Even though the projects are the final product, the skills being taught here will have ramifications for our future workforce.

Another student, Jordan Aveallo, said, “Sometimes you come across problems and communicating with your group is a key way to solve that problem, so if you guys disagree on something, talking with your groups always helps.”

To put into perspective, these kids as young as Kindergarten are learning how to code and use equipment such as 3

D Printers.