In this video interview, Caroline B., Class of 2022, reflects on the joy and sense of accomplishment she gets from writing code and building apps, and shares how her teachers have supported and encouraged her to pursue her passion for computer science at Hewitt and beyond.
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.
After investigating water pollution through the lenses of equity and social justice, civic engagement, and sustainable engineering, fifth grade change-makers proposed ways for members of the Hewitt community to reduce their unsustainable impacts on freshwater systems.
During their week-long minimester, eighth graders investigated the lasting impacts of certain kinds of waste on our environment and researched the power of community activism. Students applied what they learned as they collaborated on ways to address the real-world issue of sustainable consumption at Hewitt.
Hewitt high school students are helping the Billion Oyster Project solve the local, real-world challenge of regenerating New York Harbor's oyster reefs. As community scientists, these students conduct hands-on field research and send valuable data back to the Billion Oyster Project.
Our experiences at Hewitt have encouraged our passion for mathematics and helped us develop a sense of purpose around sharing that passion with our peers. Through the Math Olympiad club, we hope to give all upper school students a space outside of their classes to develop positive attitudes about mathematics while expanding their analytical thinking and creative problem-solving skills.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The New York Times’ Spelling Bee puzzle provides opportunities for members of the Hewitt community to unpack mathematics and engage with quantitative reasoning, to collaborate across disciplines and roles, and to stay connected despite the geographical challenges brought on by social distancing.
- Graphic design and digital art using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
- 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.