Steam and Maker Education

Innovators, Inventors, Leaders

Research shows that girls have higher interest and persistence rates in STEAM fields when they are afforded ample opportunities to tinker and build. By introducing design challenges in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics classes starting in the lower school, we prepare our girls to embrace robotics with an eagerness to explore, a willingness to build upon failure, and an openness to constructive feedback. Our K-12 interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to STEAM ensures that Hewitt girls graduate well on their way to becoming the next generation of innovators, inventors, and leaders.

 

Hewitt students explore, experiment, and play with technology, computer programming, digital fabrication and maker tools, and robotics at every stage of their academic career.


STEAM News
A student crouches in front of a yard stick and prepares to toss a basketball in the air

Instead of relying on dry textbooks to teach confusing concepts, my freshman physics class showed me how effectively student-led, hands-on labs based in real-world scenarios could help break down complex principles. My experiences in ninth grade physics have given me the courage to pursue a subject that I initially thought would be overwhelmingly challenging, which feels heartening and empowering.   

read more about Breaking Down Complex Principles in Ninth Grade Physics 
A student sits at a desk watching a drawing tutorial on an iPad

When students teach their peers they take ownership of their knowledge and sharing new skills ceases to be a top-down exercise that must be led by the adult in the room. In these moments, the student sharing her wisdom deepens her own understanding and gains confidence in herself, while the student being taught gets the chance to hear a peer explain a new skill or concept, demystifying it and making it instantly more accessible. 

read more about Lower School Students Find Their Inner Teacher
A student sits at a desk with a laptop and rulers holding a timer

In seventh grade science, students immerse themselves in two valuable systems of inquiry with real-world applications: the scientific method and the engineering design process. Through hands-on and self-directed work — time spent solving, testing, building, and creating — students develop a strong grasp of how scientific inquiry and experimentation can inform and improve engineering.

read more about Bang, Crash, Boom: Scientific Discovery and Engineering Design in Seventh Grade 
 Uncovering the Hidden World of Engineering 

In Hewitt’s Programming and Robotics course, students learn how to create computer animations, design for digital fabrication, and program electronic circuitry, all with code. Because this introductory course focuses on hands-on projects that are grounded in real-world contexts, students start learning by doing at their very first class meeting, quickly making connections between the projects they are working on in class and the systems and electronics they use on a daily basis.

read more about Uncovering the Hidden World of Engineering 
Second Grade Scientists Direct Their Own Learning

To learn about the animals that inhabit our oceans, second graders engaged in an interdisciplinary and multisensory project that invited them to explore marine life as readers, writers, artists, researchers, and public speakers. By directing their own learning at every stage of the project, these young scientists became deeply invested in work that was meaningful to them while developing confidence in their abilities to think critically and independently. 

read more about Second Grade Scientists Direct Their Own Learning

HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR STEAM PROGRAM

  • Graphic design and digital art using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Programming in Scratch, JavaScript, and Processing
  • Digital fabrication such as laser cutting, etching, and milling with wood and plastic
  • 3D printing and design with Tinkercad
  • Tinkering with gears and circuitry
  • Robotics with VEX IQ, VEX EDR, and Arduino
  • E-textile design with LilyPad
  • Physical computing with Makey Makey and Micro:bit
  • Fabrication with sustainable materials such as mycelium and recycled plastic
  • Computer science classes that engage students in circuitry, software development, product design and fabrication, and building and programming robots.

A student creates a custom nightlight cover in the Hewitt Innovation Lab

A student leans over a cardboard model of a park and holds a bottle of glue

In social studies, lower school students investigate adaptive playground equipment and design and build models of accessible parks

A student sits at a desk inflating a large yellow balloon

As part of their study of physics, seventh grade scientists build balloon rockets

A student connects an old motor to a power supply in the Innovation Lab

After disassembling a broken paper shredder, a student tests its motor using a power supply in the Hewitt Innovation Lab

Lower school students record video tutorials to share their skills and expertise with peers

Middle school Hewitt Robotics teams pose with their awards for teamwork, robot skills, excellence, and design

Middle school Hewitt Robotics teams pose with awards for teamwork, robot skills, excellence, and design

A lower school student sits on the carpet next to her Beebot, a small, round robot with red and blue flashing lights

Using counting, sequencing, estimation, and problem-solving skills, kindergarten engineers program Beebots to navigate mazes

Two students with a Snap Circuit kit and instruction booklet

Fourth graders use Snap Circuits to learn about different types of circuits, sensors, and motors
 

A student interviews a teacher as three others operate an iPad on a tripod, a boom mic, and a clapboard

Kindergarteners act as videographers, interviewers, and sound operators while filming interviews with members of the Hewitt community

Two students wear safety goggles and gloves as they use tools to debark tree branches

Middle school students make block sets out of fallen tree branches for pediatric patients at Mount Sinai Hospital

 

Upper school Hewitt Robotics teams at a competition

An upper school Hewitt Robotics team about to compete

Three students use drills and screwdrivers to take apart a flat screen TV

Middle school students take apart an old TV in order to reclaim its parts for future Innovation Lab projects