About

Welcome to the website for Perkiomen Valley High School’s Innovation Lab:  Nova Lab.

Nova are stars that flare up and return to their original luminosity.  It is also the feminine of novus meaning “new.”

And of course, it is found in the word “Innovation.”

Nova Lab is a space where students will be able to follow their own interests, where they will be driven by curiosity to solve real world problems.

It is a space where learning is driven by students empowered to answer two questions:

Why are things the way they are?
How can we make them better?

The first question empowers students to explore and discover through pursuit of their own interests.

The second question posits that the learning will not simply be academic.  Whatever is learned in Nova Lab must manifest itself in a material way.  Thus, all the learning is project based.

But there’s more to this.  The class is modeled on the work Don Wettrick and his students have done within their “Innovation and Open Source Learning” class.  Mr. Wettrick was recently profiled in Forbes Magazine.  Don asks his students to justify any idea for a project in the class by providing the answer to three key questions:

  1. Are you passionate about this?
    1. This is actually the weakest question because it turns out that passion flames out quite quickly.  It’s better to ask, are you curious about this?
  2. What skills will you gain from pursuing this project that you don’t already have?
    1. This assures that the work will not simply be redundant or “easy” in the sense of simply dipping into one’s strengths.  It also is the basis for building high-functioning teams because most all successful projects require the help of a team of differently skilled students
  3. Who, besides yourself, will benefit from your completion of this project.
    1. This question assures that students recognize that opportunities to make the world better can be found anywhere, so long as we’re looking beyond ourselves.

The goal of Nova Lab is to help students develop an entrepreneurial sprit and an innovator’s mindset that look to the world for opportunities and work within in that world to develop new and useful ideas that can make the world a better place.

Further information on Nova Lab can be found on the Resources page