Maker, Design and Engineering @ MVPS
A PreK-12 Hands On Adventure
The Maker, Design and Engineering (MDE) program at MVPS is about students building new possibilities. Literally. Spanning across Preschool to grade 12, MDE believes hands-on learning means minds-on learning.
Inspiring students with the sense of wonder that comes from asking the question “What if?” and then answering with “Why not?”, the MDE program equips learners for greater exploration of the adjacent possible. Using physical and digital tools to create or remix products, students are empowered as they see their ideas become real. Their sense of agency grows as they create artifacts that make an impact for their users, at a scale that ranges from the individual to the many.
Play, purpose, and passion are the core learning philosophies of the program. Creations can be whimsical amusements, elegant solutions to complicated problems, beautiful expressions of ideas and beliefs, or a mix of them. This trajectory develops a mindset within the learner that recognizes the world as a malleable place, and asks them "How will you shape it?"
What we are making
Inspired by the open community of makers at OpenDesk.cc and intrigued by the possibility of what we might make with our own CNC, Technology, Engineering and Design students are exploring flatpack furniture designs.
Third graders build a circuitry project that utilizes the additive properties of colored light to produce amazing visual images with shadows.
Fourth graders designed, programmed and built computer voting booths to help run the third grade elections.
The innovative nature of Kindergarteners is on display as they create an iPad stand to help them make stop motion movies.
Foundational Rounds are agency building projects meant to introduce students to new tools, materials, and habits of making.
A request for some backyard games becomes a great opportunity for learning and collaboration with some new tools.
The third week of a grade-wide project finds third graders completing the construction of the colored shadow box prototypes begun by the previous two classes.
Before building our own automata, we needed to look closely at some examples first.
Hands-on and minds-on learning rule the day as the automata begin being built.
After building various automata with cardboard, students asked a natural next question: What else can we use?
Students design a way to communicate an aspect of themselves to others using a plaque with a customized vinyl sticker.
Another class picks up the MVPS PE Dept work request for ladder golf sets.
A group of iDiploma students are wrapping up their first year in the program with three rounds of building in our Hive space. Each round is intentionally designed so that students will learn and use the tools available to them, which will help them build their confidence as a maker. Additionally, the elements they are building are intended to hack the current culture and will serve as concrete examples of how building ideas and products visibly and tangibly can bring people together, convey new information or create a sense of community.
We believe that everyone is a maker. To help scaffold that idea for students, we are working on various pathways - not labels - through which student can engage in cross-disciplinary inquiry, experimentation, and fabrication. Students may view their builds-in-progress through the lenses of:
A maker space might be considered any space with the tools and materials to create - the art studio, the science lab, the writing lab, your kitchen. In that regard, there is nothing much special about a maker space. A maker community, however, requires more. A community includes spaces, identities, and an embedded culture.
Studio(i) on our Founders Campus and Hive on our Glenn Campus are maker-community spaces. Designed to be a flexible creative and creating space, Studio(i) and Hive each feature 3 distinctive work areas: Agency, Joinery, Platform
The workshop space where our community can fabricate their designs with wood tools, CNC machines, laser cutters, and various material choices.
A common space that fosters collaboration, ideation, and assembly
Our digital creation space with access to 3D printers, vinyl cutters, micro electronics, and workstations for CAD, animation software and more.
Cognitive Gearing - a journey from habits to active thinking - describes the scope and sequence of Maker Design Engineering. The gears represent meta organization for our maker pathways for different age groups - as tinkerers, hackers, or artisans - but do not exclude the others. You can imagine a drive force being applied to the tinkering gear for lower grades, for example, yet because of the gear arrangement opportunities for other pathways come in turn. The four descriptions on the periphery - Fabrication, Craftsmanship, Idea Exchange, and Observation & Judgement - represent what we believe to be the core skills, habits, and methods of making at MVPS.
Program Distinguishing Features
CareCheck includes safety protocol, signage, and a mantra that promotes mutual respect and care for each other, the space, and the tools.
Build Permit is a tool we use to help scaffold students' planning of build projects which include consideration of materials and tools as well as a student defined definition of "done".
“When we allow children to experiment, take risks, and play with their own ideas, we give them permission to trust themselves.”
― Sylvia Libow Martinez,
"The role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge."
― Seymour Papert
"Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete. They just have to go fix it — often in the face of people who say it’s impossible or are content with the status quo."
― Mark Zuckerberg