Problem solving & empathy go hand-in-hand

We teach students to become creators, not just consumers; to think about the needs of themselves and others; and to believe that they can help make the world a better place through their own thoughts and ideas. Our incredible makerspace, the Discovery Center, is one of the innovative and exceptional ways we do this!

The Disco, as it is affectionately called (yes, there is a mirror ball on the ceiling!), plays three important roles in our program. It is a project and fabrication lab, it’s home-base for teaching digital citizenship and information literacy, and it provides support for our faculty to find and integrate appropriate new technologies into their existing curriculum.

Makerspace, tech center and fabrication lab

First and foremost, the Discovery Center is a makerspace and cutting-edge tech lab. The goals of the program are to promote creativity, exploration, collaborative learning and innovation using traditional and 21st century tools.  The Disco integrates multiple disciplines with a focus on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). In their years in the Disco, students become designers and inventors using compassion, problem solving and critical thinking.

The curriculum includes:

  • programing robots
  • building simple machines and structures
  • creating and editing video
  • photography and digital editing
  • coding
  • circuitry and repairing electronics
  • graphic design and publication
  • 3-D modeling and printing

Our students learn how the phases of the design process can help them engage with real problems in the world — and also that sometimes these steps come in non-linear fashion!

  • Empathize with others and consider their needs
  • Research and define the core problem at hand
  • Generate possible solutions
  • Design and build prototypes 
  • Refine and iterate on the design to make it even better

We have a full suite of resources in the Disco, including a 3D printer, a laser cutter, drones, Lego engineering kids, Spheros and other robots, and a fleet of laptops loaded with a wide range of software — and we’re constantly adding more.

Home Base for Digital Citizenship & Information Literacy

Our students will have online lives, and we want them to understand how to be kind, responsible and ethical citizens as they move into those digital spaces!  From social media and online slang to digital footprints and data mining, we guide students in all grades through conversations that help them make sense of a very abstract environment. Our program uses much of the Common Sense Media curriculum, though we incorporate other elements and flex based on the needs and readiness of the students.

In keeping with our mission, we also teach students how to behave appropriately as scholars. Developing strong skills in information literacy — how to search for and locate valid and reliable information, synthesize it with what you already know, and then apply it to solve the problems you face — helps our students with a wide range of research projects in language arts, history and science throughout their K-8 years.

Helping Integrate Technology into Classrooms

As part of our comprehensive technology program, the Discovery Center provides support for integrating technology into the core academic classrooms.  Students learn essential technology tools such as word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet software. Students also use digital tools to support and enhance classroom projects, perform research and explore new concepts and ideas via computer stations, iPads, multi-media equipment and open-source software.  Our faculty work collaboratively with our Technology Integration Specialist to find the best ways to bring technology into their classrooms in support of their curriculum.