Robotics | Coding | Design | Fabrication
The Spirit of Making
The WNS Maker Lab is a space where middle school students develop projects involving robotics, coding, design, and digital fabrication.
Starting with the end in mind, our 8th grade faculty and key administrators have created a program called the Passion Project, now in its third year. Consider it the capstone project every 8th grader must complete prior to graduation. Each student in this program is tasked with designing a project around their personal passions that has a connection in some form to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. While the project has a foundation in these global issues, the topic, design, execution, and presentation are chosen and developed by each student. In addition, the problem selected by the student is, in most cases, a local one. As social entrepreneurs, students seek out a problem they find value in pursuing and work to solve or bring awareness to that problem. They interview people related to the problem, develop prototypes in digital or analog forms, create a website to document their work, and present their experience to an authentic audience of adults and peers.
To prepare students along this path of personalized learning, students in 7th grade experience an interdisciplinary project called SPLASH (Solving Problems for Los Angeles’s Society and Health), focused on LA and its issues of health and wellness. As with the Passion Project, students take on a project in an area that interests them most.
In sixth grade, students experience this project-driven, creative, and meaningful work through the Legends of the Trash Creatures (LTC), with its focus on environmental issues. While the emphasis is not on social entrepreneurship, many of the same habits and practices are embedded into the project work during LTC, as they work in small groups to design and build a five foot tall creature out of recycled materials and trash with embedded robotics for interactivity.
In support of student work during all of these projects, WNS provides a fully equipped makerspace for prototyping and project development. Additionally, students each have laptops for coding, writing, research, web development, graphic design, and any modeling required for digital fabrication.