Innovation Academy

STEM Coordinator
Kristen Brohm & Becky Peters
Kristen Brohm serves as STEM Coordinator at Alpine Elementary, and Becky Peters is the Program Manager at the SVVSD Innovation Center.


Innovation Academy for a Smarter Planet seeks to foster a foundation of critical thinking through inquiry-based learning in children. St. Vrain Valley School District, in partnership with IBM and CU, will create a community of learners that will think globally and collaboratively in order to develop innovative approaches to problem-solving.


Innovation Academy for a Smarter Planet is an exciting summer program designed in partnership with IBM that will be taught collaboratively by St. Vrain Valley School District teachers and IBM employees. Primary elementary students entering first, second, and third grade, as well as intermediate elementary students entering fourth, fifth, and sixth grade in the 2015-2016 school year will work in highly interactive and collaborative learning environments on various community-related issues. Primary students will inquire into sustainable and innovative solutions selected from IBM’s “Smarter Planet” initiative in the areas of: transportation systems, water, buildings, and food. Intermediate students will inquire into: energy, cities, commerce, media, and communications. Each classroom group will be facilitated by two SVVSD teachers, IBM employee/volunteers, CU Fellows (Engineering students working on their PhD), and multiple Skyline High School students who participate in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy.

Innovation Academy News

What a great two weeks of designing, creativity and prototyping. Here is the video of the Innovation Academy 2014 – Elementary. Thanks to everyone for their continued support of this amazing experience for the students of St. Vrain Valley School District.

As your student inventors continue their journey, they are constantly taking in group feedback and redesigning their prototypes to create the ultimate version. With only two days of work left before the big showcase Friday night, the students are more focused than ever.

Today started out with some feedback for groups based on their current designs and prototypes.

Yesterday was very busy with lots of moving throughout the facility here at IBM.  While in the classrooms, students were still able to work on design challenges.  Here are some of the finished prototypes.

The Elementary students are ramping up their research and design efforts as they begin to formulate some amazing ideas for their final projects. Here is some brainpower in action from this morning.

Sue Windels, the District Education Advocate for Congressman Jared Polis, visited Skyline High School and toured the Elementary Innovation Academy 2014.

Today it all begins! This is the first day of Middle School Innovation Academy 2014 here at IBM.  We look forward to seeing these young brilliant minds at work as they use the design thinking process over the next two weeks.

As we embark on a new part of our creative journey here at Skyline High School, the design process takes a more focused approach as your student inventors start to create their final showcase prototypes.

It’s been a wonderful week of designing, prototyping and presenting here at IBM. The guest speakers have been outstanding and IBM has been a gracious host to our young learners. Here are some pictures of the learning that is taking place so far today.

A brief look at Week 1 of this year's Innovation Academy.

How would you change the places where you hang out?

That's just one of the design challenges students at the Innovation Academy for a Smarter Planet — a partnership of the St. Vrain Valley School District and IBM — are answering during their two-week camp.

We are settling in as we embark on Day 4 here at IBM with Innovation Academy 2014. The IBM volunteers and guest speakers have been wonderful and we can’t say enough about the partnership that has been built over the past four years between St.

Day 3 has officially started and your students are already collaborating and working through the design thinking process as we speak.

We are off and running on Day 2 here at the Innovation Academy. Here are a few pictures of the Smarter Planet groups as they kick off their fun-filled day.

It is upon us. The first day of the Elementary Innovation Academy 2014 here at IBM. The excitement this morning was electric and we are looking forward to the amazing design thinking that will take place over the next two weeks.

Innovation Academy Projects

An extremely productive day of prototyping and refining. We began by doing a building design challenge that supports weight.

Day 8 was all about prototyping!! We started out the day with a mini design challenge that was focused on creative confidence.

Students began today with about a half hour to work on prototypes before a full feedback session.

We started the day with a film clip from Apollo 13: showing how Ground Control had to make a carbon dioxide mitigation tool for the Apollo c

Today was all about prototyping and feedback andthen some more prototyping and fe

Today was a busy day with lots of energy and enthusiasm.  We started off the day with a focus on the define stage – what will the

Having just set the seeds for their ideas at the end of yesterday, students were ready to continue the design process and start creatin

We just completed day 7 at skyline for the innovation academy.

What a productive last day at IBM! We began by presenting our prototypes and getting feedback.

Today was the last day at IBM and we spent the majority of our day working on the design challenge #4.

What an amazing week we have had at IBM!  Our final design challenge was to come up with a way for people to survive during and after a

We ended a productive week of engaged, innovative, creative kids.

It was another amazing learning day in Smarter Communications.

Hard to believe it’s been 9 days already! Our time together flew by and I learned a lot from these students.

Today’s Smarter Cities focus was on Public Safety (specifically on reducing crime in a high crime neighborhood).  For today&rsquo

We have reached the end of our two week stint at Innovation Academy. We had an amazing time, learned a ton, and collaborated everyday.

Today was our last day of working in our classroom.

Group 2

Today we made posters for exhibition to show every step of the design process in order:  empathy, define, ideate, and prototype.

Public Safety began our day by finishing our prototypes from the previous day.

We had a very cerebral day. First the kids learned some economic concepts such as Supply and Demand and the Circular Flow of the Economy.

This is the day we’ve been waiting for!

The Smarter Public Safety group began today by putting the finishing touches on their prototypes for creating safer schools.

Today was an incredible day of creating, innovating, teamwork, communicating, and more creating.

Today was an incredible day of creating, innovating, teamwork, communicating, and more creating.

Day 3 of Innovation Academy has been an exciting one!

The students continue to amaze me with their innovation!

As we begin to wrap up our work the children concentrated intently on refining and extending their prototypes.

Today was a day full of work. We began our day by making the connection between math and our prototypes.

Today’s focus was prototyping.  We started today by giving each group a lot of feedback!

First off today, we got feedback on our prototypes of a building so far.

Group 1

Today was another fun-filled learning day at IBM. We took two walking field trips and traveled far on foot.

We had our first design challenge today. The kids were tasked with designing a vacation for a client.

Today your students were introduced to what topics fit within Smarter Cities – you can view them on the attached diagram.  Today&

Our group started to look at “Smarter Public Safety” by looking through the lens of improving safety in schools.

The children spent the bulk of the day working on prototypes. This morning we completed prototypes from yesterday and presented our ideas.

The students were great during the whole prototyping day!

Group 2

Today we began our last design challenge. Students chose a problem on which to focus and began empathizing with their client.

Today we started with learning the area method for solving multiplication problems.

Group 1

Today was a big design thinking day!  We focused on MANY design thinking steps to help further our transportation project ideas.

The Smarter Public Safety group’s day began with the Parent Orientation in IBM’s Cafeteria.  Speakers from IBM and St.

The day started out with some fabulous chemistry experiments by CU Teach’s Julie Andrew.  After that, the students headed to thei

What a great first day! Julie Andrew of CU showed the kids a little magic with some thermodynamic chemistry.

Today was a busy day!  We did a lot of thinking about transportation, which at times was exhausting.

We had a great first day here at Skyline! Our students began our day discovering how much it would cost if a pipe was leaking in our house.

We are finishing our first day at Skyline High School.

Group 1

Day 5! This week has absolutely flown by!

I can’t believe we are already done with our first week of Innovation Academy.

Today we wrapped up our time at IBM by studying transportation systems in Longmont.  Our guest speaker was Mr.

Today was fun day!  We worked on building empathy and defining problems.

Most of our day was spent working with our Design Challenge #3.

Today can  be described as a full day of prototyping!

Group 2

Another great day went by filled with a guest speaker and a full design challenge.

We began and ended today with our Design Challenge 2: design a kitchen appliance for a family to use.

Today’s design challenge was a favorite so far.

Group 1

Today was an exciting day because it was Field Trip Day!!  We took two field trips around IBM today.

We had an amazing and busy day learning, exploring, and building. We kicked off our day with a discussion around proper hydration.

Our first grade Food group spent the day exploring the IBM facility. We took a field trip to the “World- Famous” IBM cafeteria!

Phew!  Today was a busy day!  We learned a TON of information about transportation.

We had a great first day in Smarter Buildings.

Group 1

Day one started off with a bang and went by very quickly.

What a busy first day we had! This morning we welcomed our families with a quick breakfast and presentations from IBM, SVVSD and CU Teach.