Innovation Workshop

Innovation Workshop

Innovation Workshop

At the heart of Park Day School’s Design+Make+Engage program is the Innovation Workshop (watch video), an indoor/outdoor space where students deepen their identities as designers, engineers, builders, and scientists. Maker-centered learning relies on collaboration while offering opportunities to learn about new tools and technologies. Park Day School partnered with Harvard’s Project Zero to develop our program, which fosters important thinking skills including adaptability, collaborative thinking, risk-taking, and multiple-perspective taking—critical to thriving in a complex world.

Many Innovation Workshop projects unfold in pairs or small groups, to model the way people work together in the world. Through both the design and build phases of a typical Innovation Workshop project, there is a high degree of cooperation needed. Partners must use empathy and listening skills to share and combine ideas, draw or map plans to mutual satisfaction, and translate them into tangible, 3-D creations. 

Physical Computing & Technology

As kids mature through the lower grades we start thinking and working more intentionally around physical computing (watch video). We have a three year sequence of building programming skills starting in 3rd grade with Scratch, and then Microbits in 4th and 5th. That then sets up kids in Middle School for units on circuitry and coding, as they apply their understanding of programming towards other projects, particularly in math and science.

Projects in the Innovation Workshop serve as valuable assessment opportunities, as they provide an authentic way to witness each student’s collaborative skills, frustration tolerance, resilience, fine motor skills, planning, organization, visual-spatial skills, and risk-taking in the planning and creative process.  For students, projects in the Innovation Workshop bring an academic topic to life in a tangible, hands-on way, that helps cement the learning process and keep it engaging.

Middle School Workshop Projects

In Middle School students engage in design and build challenges during advisory, dive into special projects in math and science class, and utilize workshop resources during the clubs program.

Students learn about design- and systems-thinking (watch video) as they  engage in measuring precisely, planning and iteration of designs, applying scientific understandings to design and then build solutions for themselves and others, including designing and building something to meet a community need.

Sample Projects