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.   

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. 

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.

 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.

A Spell Cast: The Magic of Word Game Collaboration

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.

A Hewitt student's math problem written in chalk on the sidewalk in Central Park

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. 

Giving Girls a Place in the Engineering World

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." 

Meaningful Making in the Hewitt Innovation Lab

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. 

HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR STEAM PROGRAM

  • Graphic design and digital art using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Programming in Scratch, JavaScript, and Processing
  • 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
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 kindergarteners use a cell phone and iPad to record an interview between another student and a staff member

Kindergarteners oversee sound and video recording during an interview with a Hewitt staff member

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

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
 

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

 

A student works with a soldering iron

An upper school student solders in the Hewitt Innovation Lab

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

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

Upper school Hewitt Robotics teams at a competition

An upper school Hewitt Robotics team about to compete

Hewitt Robotics students assembling their VEX IQ robot

Hewitt Robotics students assembling their VEX IQ robot