FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is WonderLab a school?
No, we are a learning lab where Learners work one-on-one with a Mentor Guide to design, implement, and exhibit projects based on their personal interests. Our learning lab is also a space where Learners can come to tinker or work independently on ongoing projects.
What ages do you work with?
We work with students from elementary through high school.
What’s the difference between a Mentor Guide and a teacher?
A Mentor Guide’s job is to help a student become their own best teacher—to help them transition from being a receiver of knowledge to becoming a seeker of knowledge.
What kinds of projects have other learners done in the past?
Grey wanted to build an affordable grey water recycling system people could use in their houses. Once he did some research, he found out he wouldn’t be able to get all the pharmaceuticals out of the water by building a filter from scratch, so instead, he decided to build an app to make saving water into a game. Next steps: building a board game prototype and learning how to make an app.
Gage is designing a children’s museum/hotel he hopes to eventually build one day. He has completed drawing out floor plans for each of its seven floors. Next steps: designing the specific exhibits. This includes learning about magnetic levitation and building a Lego starship that will float around a path using magnetic levitation, and taking a Youth Digital 3D game design course in order to build an Interactive Village exhibit.
Robby came up with a design for a Rube Goldberg machine and is now bringing it to life. So far he has built a water wheel that knocks a car down a ramp and sets off a shooting dart. Next steps: figuring out how the dart will trigger a Nerf gun.
How do Learners exhibit their work?
Learners start by exhibiting their work in private exhibitions to a crowd as big or little as they wish. WonderLab also has community exhibitions, where all WonderLab Learners present to each other and their families and friends. WonderLab exhibitions are done in the style of TED talks in which they demonstrate their projects and give a short speech about the lessons they have learned.
Do parents have to stay at the Lab, or can they leave their kids there?
Parents can leave their kids in the care of the Mentor Guides at the Lab or do their own work while waiting in the Lab.
How does what you do translate to what my child is doing in school?
Our hypothesis is simple: if we can reignite a child’s love of learning, they will in turn take more interest in that which they are learning in school.
Where do most of Learners come from: homeschool, public school, or private school?
Currently, about half of our Learners are homeschooled students. The rest are split between public and private schools.
Do you schedule most of your Mentor Guide times for after school and weekend hours?
The Lab’s hours are 10am-6pm Monday through Saturday. We schedule Mentor Guide times based on what works for you and your family.
I heard that you run workshops, camps, and birthday parties. Is this true?
We decided to eliminate our workshop, camp, and birthday party offerings. While we saw really great traction with Austin families, we didn’t see the type of "Aha! Moments" that we see with our core offering of the one-on-one Mentor Guide sessions. After debating long and hard, we decided to focus our time and resources on the program we believe best achieves our mission of fostering an environment where kids can become inspired, lifelong Learners!
Can I meet with a WonderLab Mentor Guide with a friend, or do Mentor Guides only work one-on-one with Learners?
Learners typically work independently with a Mentor Guide. However, we will work with you to design a program that best fits your needs.
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MEET THE FOUNDER
Learn about our vision for a transformative educational model for the 21st century.
The longer we educate children in the United States, the less motivated and engaged they become. A recent Gallup poll found student engagement in U.S. public schools going from 80% in 5th grade to 40% in 12th grade.
Will you look to traditional educators to develop new 21st century institutions? Or will you join WonderLab and become an education entrepreneur yourself—taking charge of your own individual learning? Take my challenge.