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Design, Engineering, & Technology

Sparking Curiosity and Problem-solving through the IB

With inquiry-based learning as the cornerstone of the curriculum, the IB educational journey at Dwight empowers students to go wherever their curiosity leads them, become risk takers, and develop design and entrepreneurial skills to solve problems and embrace change with confidence.

These skills include brainstorming, collaborating, and innovating. When coupled with traits such as flexibility, resourcefulness, and resilience, which we nurture within and beyond the classroom, students develop an entrepreneurial mindset. This preparation is invaluable for graduates as they forge their own paths in life and step successfully into the jobs of the future.

Hands-on Design and Engineering Learning

Our design and engineering continuum curriculum is integrated into IB units of inquiry and starts with our youngest learners in preschool. As students discover the tools and materials available to them in our makerspaces, they’re able to create artifacts of their learning in all of their classes.

Design Thinking

As students shape projects of their own imagining, they focus on problem-solving through the IB’s design thinking cycle, which includes inquiry and analysis, idea development, creation and prototyping, and evaluation.

Design thinking begins with empathy, asking students to inquire about the needs, experiences, and challenges of others. At Dwight, students tap into the design thinking process as they devise innovative solutions to practical problems across disciplines, ranging from digital game development and product design to robotics, programming, and architecture.

Students who want to take their projects beyond our makerspaces — or launch new ones — can dive into Spark Tank, our incubator. This signature Dwight program draws heavily on the IB design thinking cycle, teaching students entrepreneurial, innovation, and leadership skills beyond the classroom. For more information, visit our Spark Tank page.

Makerspaces for All

Spark Lab

The Spark Lab is our makerspace designed for students in grades 9-12. Students have access to 3D printing and additive manufacturing machines, vinyl and laser cutters, a robotics library, woodworking tools, and consumables that allow students to produce both low- and high-fidelity prototypes. Students work on projects such as creative coding, design for fabrication, survey of engineering, product design, and architecture.

Invention Studio

The Invention Studio is where grade 6-8 students cycle through design and engineering processes using 3D printers, sewing and embroidery machines, woodworking tools, a vinyl cutter, large format laser cutter, and a 1:1 robotics library. Students work on projects related to their IB units, such as creative coding and game design, sound engineering, assistive technologies, IoT (Internet of Things), machine learning, and engineering crazy contraptions.

Wonder Lab

Students in grades 1-5 have access to the Wonder Lab, where they create, invent, and engineer with both digital and analog tools. Projects include 3D laser-cut postcuts, woodworking hybrid animals, 3D modeling and printing ancient architecture, book binding, and stop motion animation.

The Studio

Starting in preschool and kindergarten, our students create and explore in The Studio, where robots come to life and pendulums are used to paint. Our youngest students have the opportunity to discover and learn in as many ways as possible, with curiosity and joy. 

Technology and Computer Science

To ensure that technology is a regular component of the learning experience, we provide each student with a device in our 1:1 program. In grades 1-4, students use iPads; and beginning in grade 5, they’re assigned a MacBook Air to use at School and home.

Through Dwight’s technology curriculum, students deepen their critical thinking, math, reasoning, and problem-solving skills. They also learn how they can create — not just use — technology. They begin exploring computer science with the development of computational thinking skills, such as sequencing, order, and direction in Lower School. They also use Scratch Jr and Scratch to create programs that demonstrate their knowledge and creativity.

In Middle School, students learn several types of programming. In grade 6, they learn to program by using Scratch to create their own educational games and program Lego robots to perform a series of tasks in an obstacle course. Students in grades 7 and 8 learn how to code their own websites using HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

Upper School students learn to program using Python, one of the most in-demand languages for professionals and new learners alike. Students in our IB Diploma Program can also take  Computer Science, offering more advanced training in a variety of programming languages, computer science concepts, and practical problem-solving.

Faculty Innovation

Our faculty is also committed to innovation by participating in professional development opportunities through our Master Educator Program and grants from the Dwight School Foundation. Faculty engage in workshops focused on bringing entrepreneurship, advanced research, design thinking, and innovation into the classroom.