Southwest Preparatory Learning Center offers students a robust Career and Technical Education lab that focuses on the exploration of S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics). In Smart Lab, students apply leading-edge technology to academically focused, standards-based projects. The student-centered curriculum adapts to learners of different abilities and learning styles resulting in challenged and engaged students learning real-world skills in an academic context. Students work in pairs on challenging hands-on projects that are flexible and open-ended. They complete multiple projects a year and are challenged every day to use critical thinking skills, to problem-solve, to collaborate, and to communicate.

Projects are divided into eight essential technology skills and systems. The level of complexity of the projects is aligned appropriately to grade level. Smart Lab employs a scaffold approach, incorporating beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels of technology, equipment, and software for our students.

Mechanics and Structures

This technology introduces learners to simple machines and the principles of mechanics, gear ratios, structure, and machine parts. Math, Science, and Physics are emphasized.

Computer Graphics

Activities include graphic arts work, digital photography, and digital animation. CAD activities such as architectural drawings, landscape design, illustration, engineering drafting, mechanical drafting, and mechanical design.

Science and Data Acquisition

Learners use software to collect and analyze data, then use their analysis to make predictions and create scale models. Learners collect data from their work with a wind tunnel, interactive strength challenger stress testing device, probe ware, and additional scientific kits.

Computer Programming

Learners will learn beginner to intermediate level coding using various computer software programs, iPad apps, and cloud-based programs.

Robotics and Control Technology

One of the more advanced technologies offered in the lab allows students to simulate complex mechanical processes with Fischertechnik, Lego Mindstorms, LittleBits STEAM kits, Ozobots, Vex Robotics and control them with the multi-technic control interface of computer control technology, electronics, and iPads.


Learners will compare circuitry as it is used in pneumatics and electricity. The skills and knowledge they obtain here can be used in animatronics, control technology, and electronics.

Computer Simulation

Learners use software to play out long-term scenarios to study cause and effect in simulated cities, simulated worlds, aviation, and other scientific models.

Publishing and Multimedia

This encompasses everything learners need to know about word processing and desktop publishing, including scanners, digital photography, time-lining, and integrating graphics. Students also learn to work with animation and sound production software and hardware.

Summer Camp Smart Lab

4th – 8th graders can join us this summer for the Camp Smart Lab STEAM Camp! Spend the summer learning robotics, graphic design, engineering, and coding for kids. Registration dates and further information TBA.