Innovation Workshop

Innovation Workshop

At the heart of Park Day School’s Design+Make+Engage program is the Innovation Workshop, 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 has been a longtime partner 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. 

In Middle School, students can opt to engage with the Innovation Workshop in the electives program as well as open workshop time. In addition, teachers partner with our Director of the Design+Make+Engage program to integrate and enhance students’ learning across the curriculum. Students learn about design- and systems-thinking 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.

Projects in the Innovation Workshop serve as valuable assessment opportunities for teachers, 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.

Sample Projects