Makerspace & Design
Kindergarten through 8th Grade
The makerspace concept began in the technology community, where programmers, inventors, and others gathered in physical locations to share resources and knowledge, work on projects, network, and build. It was a place for technological experimentation, hardware development, and idea prototyping. It wasn't long before others began to realize the power that makerspaces had to bring to people together to solve problems and complete projects in creative new ways. Well-equipped makerspaces have started springing up in libraries and community centers around the country. Colleges and universities were next, and state-of-the-art makerspaces are now active parts of the learning experience at Rutgers, Stanford, and Yale, among many others.
The Red Oaks School is a pioneer in bringing this concept to students in elementary and middle school. Our makerspace provides collaborative studio space—a combination lab, shop, and informal learning center—and is well supplied to inspire all of our students. The space is filled with tools and materials of every description, from cardboard and glue to power tools and 3D printers. Teachers facilitate students' use of the space as problem-solvers of all ages address challenges of all kinds—trying out solutions, tinkering, assessing prototypes, and sharing ideas and successes.
Grades 5 through 8
The four-year IB Middle Years Program Design Course encourages innovation and creativity. Students explore real-life problems and work collaboratively to solve them. In the process they experiment, prototype and adapt using the well-established design principles and processes of the design cycle.
- Design is the link between innovation and creativity; exploring the possibilities and constraints associated with products or systems.
- Design involves research, brainstorming, creating prototypes, experimenting, evaluating and adapting.
- Students focus on the needs, wants and limitations of the end user, while acknowledging the designer’s responsibility toward the community and the environment.
- Design thinking applies across disciplines, laying a foundation for later studies in many fields such as: fashion, engineering, manufacturing, architecture, food, education,, multimedia, marketing, publications, marketing, video games and web design.