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Don't Dream It, Build It

November 02, 2016

  • DSC_0117 Tom Collins

“I want MIT to be the dream of every child who wants to grow up to make the world a better place. We need to reach those young explorers and bring them with us on the great adventure of discovery and innovation.”

                                                                        -- Susan Hockfield, President of MIT (2004 –2012)

MIT, the very name stirs up images of curiosity, creativity and innovation. I can’t begin to express how fantastic it is to be a lead school in NAE’s collaboration with MIT this year. From the first, ‘secret’ meetings last January, through the Cambridge Science Festival in April, to the Curiosity Challenge this November, we have made sure that our community has been exposed to the initiative from the get go.

The collaboration aims to:

  • Expose teachers and students to MIT innovations and culture
  • Impact teaching and learning (student– driven, collaborative, interdisciplinary, project-based)
  • Learn new skills and knowledge (latest development in STEAM, exposure to tools)

Before we announced the MIT collaboration, BISC Lincoln Park was dedicated to STEAM and the Maker Movement. We had set up the STEAM corridor at school to include a Maker Space. To the casual observer, it might seem this is purely a junk modeling room, and for all intents and purposes it does serve that function. However, it also is a space where the children can take chances, make mistakes and get messy. It was featured heavily in our award-winning video, and it helps our children’s minds ‘go everywhere’.

This year we continue to build upon the success of our Maker Space by adding in the Design Lab to the STEAM Corridor. This room allows our children to follow the MIT plan for a Maker Space:

  • There is no “one design” of a makerspace
  • The space can be ad hoc
  • The space needs tools
  • The space also needs materials
  • The space should follow the “hacker” ethic

Our design lab is a fantastic addition to our STEAM department and, through the use of digital design, wood working, 3D printing and the soon-to-arrive laser cutter; our children can follow their passions and build their dreams!

Tom Collins is BISC Lincoln Park's Head of Science and STEAM Leader