Innovations Institute

Innovations Teacher

Kristina Ngai

Innovations Institute website


Innovations is an elective class that focuses on the integration of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). In Innovations, students are able to apply their skills, knowledge, and creativity to solve relevant real-world problems and explore new ideas. During this course, students will engage in hands-on activities and experiments to help them better understand their own problem-solving processes and how to overcome obstacles by working together as a team.

Why Innovations? Our students at WJJMS are incredible young people with talents, skills, and interests that span many different areas. We want to help them understand how they can best develop and utilize their skills to solve problems in the world around them. This class will provide students with problem-solving strategies, exercises to develop creative thinking, and projects that will utilize 21st-century skills to bring student ideas to life.

Course information

  • 6th Grade STEAM Innovations

The 6th-grade course is a full quarter of hands-on problems, projects, and experiments based around a central science theme. Themes for sixth grade include water technologies, ocean exploration, and innovative inventors. Sample projects and experiments include designing and constructing efficient water filtration systems, creating small-scale working submarines from recyclable materials, and creating projects for the Connecticut Invention Convention.

  • 7th Grade WJJMS Shark Tank

Students in 7th grade focus on the skills and tools needed to turn an idea into a functioning business. Students work together to develop marketing campaigns and products for clients. Skills learned include the basics of 3D printing and computer-assisted design, public speaking a and applied science. At the end of the quarter, students will create and present a short Shark Tank-style pitch to an audience of peers and professionals to communicate their idea for a new business or product that could help the community.

  • 8th Grade  Exploring Advanced Innovations

Students will spend the first few weeks of the course working on small-scale hands-on projects that explore different innovative technologies and the science concepts behind them. Throughout the quarter students will use tools such as 3D printers, remote-controlled robots, and laser cutters to create prototypes of their designs and ideas. The last weeks of the course will conclude with students designing their own final projects and products based on personal interests or skills they want to develop related to STEAM. Students will present their final projects as a capstone for the class.