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.
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.
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.
In Problem Solving and Posing, a mathematics elective for Hewitt seniors, students explored how to bring conversations about math to a wider audience through Sidewalk Math, a movement designed to make math enjoyable, creative, tangible, and accessible.
Hewitt Robotics Team 11442N created an inspiring video to shed light on the lack of women in STEM fields and to highlight how, through robotics, "students are able to get engineering experience...creating a space for a love of technology to grow."
The Hewitt Innovation Lab is designed to be a space for students and teachers to explore meaningful ways of making — to make with a purpose. Research shows that many girls and women want to learn how to use technology skills to accomplish meaningful goals, such as pursuing artistic expression, solving a problem, or thinking differently about academic concepts.
- Graphic design and digital art using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
- Milling with Carvey
- 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
- Wood and acrylic cutting and etching
- Computer science classes in design, circuitry, building, and programming robots, and software creation for computers and virtual reality