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Karen Glum

Middle School Science Teacher & Director of Innovation Lab
B.S. Biology, Long Island University/Southampton College
Cert. , College of Mt. St. Joseph

Teaching Philosophy

Important skills I want to teach my students

There are so many things students learn in the Innovation Lab—from human-centered design to using power tools and soldering, to designing and printing in 3-D, coding. if I had to boil it down to the one thing I want to achieve in the lab, it is to empower students to be independent creators and problem-solvers.

Teaching methods to reach these goals

Students learn by doing. Students learn by failing forward. I give them opportunities to do both and guidance when they want and need it.

My favorite projects

In sixth-grade Innovation Lab, my favorite project is Puzzles for a Purpose (making framed jigsaw puzzles for Alzheimer’s patients) because it’s the first time many students have used power tools. For several students, the change in the way they see themselves—the increase in confidence as a result of becoming a “doer” who is entrusted with powerful tools—is visible. I love that moment. I also love the project because the students are solving a problem and giving back to the community. Many students have relatives with Alzheimer’s, so this also becomes very personal for them and gives them an opportunity to share their stories.

The seventh-grade Design Thinking class is one big project, each group picking their own problem to solve. I love all of the groups’ projects!

In eighth-grade coding I change up the projects each semester, often based on what is going on at the time. We’ve done projects related to the Olympics, holidays, and lots of other themes. Students also have opportunities to create their own projects. They’re all a lot of fun!

What I like best about teaching at Seven Hills

I’ve been lucky to be both a Seven Hills teacher and a Seven Hills parent. I love so many things about the school. As a parent, I love that my kids have been taught to think and that this has been at the core of their experiences. As a teacher, I love that we are trusted as professionals to decide what is best for our students and for our own professional growth. We are encouraged to continue our own education and we are supported when we want to try something innovative. Many of us say that we have “won the teacher lottery” by getting to teach at Seven Hills.