WHY DESIGN LABS?
Creativity, critical thinking, and innovation develop best when students are challenged with rich, open-ended tasks. Students need to be comfortable working and creating in an environment where the answers are not always straight-forward and outcomes may be unknown. This ability requires students to employ their creativity, work in teams, learn to fail safe, be self-motivated, synthesize knowledge, and create new knowledge. A well-designed curriculum supported by a well-designed space can create and foster these opportunities for learning.
COMING SOON! Two State-of-the-Art Design Labs
Projected Completion: Fall 2019
Design Lab Completion0%
LOOKING FOR A SCHOOL FOR THE 2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR?
There are limited spaces still available in preschool through 8th grade.
LATEST PROGRESS UPDATE
Demolition of the two classrooms took place in April 2019 and in July, our contractor, ADI Construction, began to build out the spaces with current work focused on the mechanical systems.
UP NEXT: Installation of new HVAC in the ceiling. Commence plumbing and electrical work.
Several years ago, Congressional School began to increase STEM offerings beyond the traditional science and mathematical curriculum.
The design cycle and engineering were introduced into the curriculum in 2016. Faculty completed an intensive week-long training at NuVu Studios in Cambridge, Massachusetts to better understand the needs for the emerging curriculum. Coding and robotics were added for students in kindergarten through 8th grade. The visual arts continued to focus on creativity. Additional faculty attended a NAEYC design program while others attended programs at St. Andrews School in Potomac, MD and The Nueva School in California. For the 2018-2019 school year, a new faculty position of STEM educator was created.
Creativity and critical thinking are cornerstones in all subjects, not just the domain of science, math, and engineering. Our Design Labs will be the place where subject areas can collaborate to provide meaningful experiences for our students. We are excited to imagine the possibilities for all our students in the Design Labs.
WHY OUR TEACHERS ARE EXCITED
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Lower and Middle School science and school-wide design classes are scheduled for the labs. Open time will be available to all. It is our expectation that all grades and classes will use the labs for project-based learning.
The Design Labs are located in the repurposed Middle School science labs on the first floor of the Big School.
Initial funding for the increased STEM program and professional development was supported by generous donations and the school’s operating budget. All proceeds from the 2018 gala were earmarked for the construction, furniture, and equipment for the new labs. Additional capital expenditure funds have been approved by the Board of Trustees to round out the funding.
How are the Design Labs being funded?
To ensure we are able to offer lab spaces and a high-quality program situated at the intersection of the arts and sciences for years to come, we are seeking to raise endowment funds for faculty support, programming, future maintenance costs, and equipment replenishment.
For information about supporting our plans, please contact:
Assistant Head for Advancement
We expect the Design Labs to open in early Fall 2019.
Plans include a design and engineering elective for grades 6 through 8; green screen use by French, Global Perspectives, and others; Computer-aided design and 3D printing as part of science and engineering projects, windmill fabrication, Rube Goldberg contraptions, building electrified machines, and more. The limit is only the imagination of the faculty and students.
The big lab equipment will include a smart board and projector, surround sound, a laser cutter, 3D printers, small tools including drills, hammers, saws, a drill press, increased electric outlets throughout the lab, easily movable furniture and storage, a smooth floor for a robot arena, a selection of fabrication materials, components for circuits. The small lab will have all but the laser cutter, 3D printers, and a green screen.