STEM Innovation Lab

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s STEM Innovation Lab is a central maker-space for all students to develop and grow their natural curiosity through hands-on projects focusing on STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math). Our STEM Learning and Innovation Specialist collaborates with students and faculty members from pre-kindergarten through Grade 12 to provide resources to build on the concepts learned in the classroom.

Through project-based learning, students are identifying solutions to social, environmental and personal problems to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subject area that they are studying. Translating an idea into another medium requires them to gain a true understanding of the project's complexities and its parts, resulting in a higher level of understanding. By encouraging students to create and construct solutions to real-world problems, they are learning to invent and inventing to learn - all while developing important skills like brainstorming, critical thinking and collaboration.

Upper School Courses

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  • Design Thinking and Innovation

    This laboratory STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) course engages students in 21st Century Learning within the context of design thinking and prototyping. By engaging in an iterative design process, prototype development and testing, students will work with key stakeholders and their peers to develop meaningful solutions to human-centered needs and problems. Through this experience, students will utilize scientific and advanced manufacturing equipment, such as 3D printers, CNC (Computer Numerical Control) Machines, graphic design software and CAD (Computer Aided Design) software. Students who enjoy using technology are most successful in this class. This class is interactive with a focus on growth mindset. It requires students to be active participants in collaborative and communicative processes.

    Prerequisite: Concurrent enrollment in or successful completion of Geometry, with science teacher recommendation based on classroom performance 
  • Innovation Lab Internship

    Students enrolled in this academic course will provide assistance to those participating in the Innovation Lab or related STEM programs/activities under the direct guidance and evaluation of the STEM Learning and Innovation Specialist. The student will assist in small and large group settings for students, teachers and community members during the academic day. This may include periodic attendance during non-class hours, such as after school or otherwise, after academic hours to co-facilitate tours and training. The student will learn to manage and process requests for Lab equipment, assist with the facilitation of learning in the Lab, and problem-solve issues with the technical equipment. Throughout this year-long program, the student will routinely meet with and be evaluated by the STEM Learning and Innovation Specialist.

    Prerequisite: Introduction to Design Thinking & Innovation and/or Independent Study of 3D Modeling and Prototyping with teacher recommendation 


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  • 3-D Printers and Scanner
  • Laser Cutters
  • CNC Router
  • Lathe
  • Mill
  • Injection Molder
  • Vacuum Former
  • Soldering and Electronics Equipment Components
  • Arduino Microcontrollers


  • Autodesk Fusion 360
  • Autodesk Inventor
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • SolidWorks
  • Tinkercad
Nansemond-Suffolk Academy is a coeducational, college preparatory private school located in Suffolk, VA. Pre-kindergarten - Grade 12.