We believe all students can learn and can grow. The words children hear and how ideas are delivered by adults have profound effects how children think, act and learn. Language is the choice and use of words combined with tone of voice and body language. All contribute to sending messages to young learners. This Language of the Lab guide gives us a common vocabulary and ideas to think about as we participate in learning within The Imagination Lab


  • Learners – anyone (and everyone – children, teachers, volunteers) who enters The Imagination Lab
  • Odyssey – 90-minute visit where students from a single grade level and school explore in one of eight unique experiences
  • Unique Experience - creating excitement and awe through eight processes that lead to active learning
  • Novel Thinking – guided steps to promote inquiry, understanding, or creativity
  • Empowered Learners – developed through 16 Habits of Mind that support the development of a Growth Mindset
  • Growth Mindset – belief that actions and effort can change outcomes

Learning outcomes

At The Imagination Lab, we want to promote ways of thinking which require learners to ponder, wonder, and ask questions. Our goal is to create an environment where asking questions, being inquisitive, creative, curious is valued above finding answers or finishing tasks. The “right” answer to a question is never more important than the opportunity a question offers for developing new questions.

Since we are all learners together, no one is expected to hold all the knowledge or answers. We all teach each other and all learn from each other. This means that within The Imagination Lab, uncertainty is embraced; risks for the sake of learning are encouraged; and failure is accepted and expected as a part of the process of learning.

Each Odyssey is designed with three specific learning outcomes:

1. Novel Thinking 

Using one of three thinking processes, ways of thinking, to navigate through the activity

2. Empowered Learners 

by developing these Habits of Mind in students

  1. Persisting
  2. Managing impulsivity
  3. Listening with understanding and empathy
  4. Thinking flexibly
  5. Thinking about your thinking (metacognition)
  6. Striving for accuracy
  7. Questioning and problem posing
  8. Applying past knowledge to new situations
  9. Thinking & communicating with clarity and precision
  10. Gathering data through all senses
  11. Creating, imagining, and innovating
  12. Responding with wonderment and awe
  13. Taking responsible risks
  14. Finding humor
  15. Thinking interdependently
  16. Remaining open to continuous learning
3. Unique Experiences 

through exciting, engaging activities centered on one of these processes

  • Building: with wood and metal / Reverse Engineering
  • Connecting: students with real-world problems
  • Creating: Audio & Video / Animation
  • Digitizing: Coding / Robotics
  • Growing: Food and awareness: Health, Nutrition & the Environment
  • Inventing: Understanding through Imagination
  • Investigating: Science & the Arts
  • Sustaining: Our world through engineering and conservation practices

When the phrases and word choices that follow are used by both adults and children, a culture and climate that fosters a mindset of growth develops.