Problem- and Project-based Learning
Maker Education at Harley embraces design thinking principles, utilizes multiple resources and skills to solve problems—and from start to finish emphasizes creativity, reflection, collaboration, and authentic assessment.
Students consistently explore challenges, pose questions, and aim to generate solutions that are testable and applicable to future situations. While technology is often utilized in maker education, our program also incorporates imagination and cooperation. The Harley School sustainability statement is also a vital component of our program, as we seek to align maker education with sustainable approaches that consider the environment, community, and resource management.
Aligning Maker Education with Sustainable Approaches
Students consistently explore challenges, pose questions, and aim to generate solutions that are testable and applicable to future situations. While technology is often utilized in maker education, our program also incorporates imagination and cooperation. The Harley School sustainabiity statement is also a vital component of our program, as we seek to align maker education with sustainable approaches that consider the environment, community, and resource management.
Come Explore, Build, Create, and Tinker
The Harley School Maker Education program has many academic spaces that enriches what happens in the classrooms. Harley has two designated maker spaces that include multiple types of microcontrollers, robotics, soldering and circuitry kits, 3D printers, and computers. The Commons makerspace has a traditional workshop with power tools, miter/band/table saws, CNC router, and laser cutter. The visual arts department has large art studios full of maker projects, glass studio, and the center for creative arts digital media lab.
Students in the Lower School are thinking and making all the time. Using developmentally appropriate tools, our students build, manipulate, tinker, and experiment with materials and manipulatives to better understand what they are learning and create ways to represent and share that learning with others. The design thinking process is alive and strong in our approach to learning across the subjects as students brainstorm, collaborate, reflect, and adapt their work—all part of maker education. In K-Grade 4, students take technology classes which engage children in both “unplugged” and electronic learning tools and projects.
Maker education is integrated into the core curriculum and exists in standalone activities and classes. Middle School science classes regularly conduct small hands-on explorations and larger multi-day projects that involve asking questions, creating solutions, and reflection and adaptation.
Core classes utilize block scheduling to engage in maker education projects in our maker space, garden, and teaching kitchen. Standalone courses include: maker mornings, a variety of flex time offerings, and technology classes in Grades 5 and 6.
Our Middle School robotics club participates in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League competitions where students work together to code LEGO Mindstorms. The program is built around theme-based Challenges to engaging students in research, problem solving, coding, and engineering.
The makerspace is also used by Middle School during maker mornings for Grade 6, technology class, Flex Time offerings such as: food and farm, mindful makers, capstone, and set design, and during class projects.
In Upper School, students have even more opportunity to choose classes that are primarily maker education, such as: food and farm, design and innovation, net zero energy, and living building.
Students can also conduct a capstone project in their senior year, which is directed by maker education philosophy. They have the central voice into what they learn, capstones require a tangible, action based outcome, and the project process engages students in ongoing reflection. There are other opportunities as well, such as biomimicry club and independent studies.
Student project: Exploring how solar panels work by building her own solar panel made of 4 solar cells.
Chemistry class collaborated with the food and farm program to explore how changing ingredients, such as baking soda and baking powder, impacts the texture and taste of cookies.
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