The best way to teach creative problem-solving skills is to provide opportunities for brainstorming and hands-on application of those ideas. The Avery Coonley School has partnered with TinkRworks, a progressive technology firm that developed a personalized Makerspace for ACS students.
"The goal of our partnership with ACS is to inspire problem-solving through use of the Makerspace," said Anu Mahajan, who earned a PhD in Electrical Engineering and is the founder of TinkRworks. "It offers revolutionary project-based learning through the use of both 21st century technology and traditional tools."
The Makerspace provides exceptional and enriching STEAM-powered (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) technology to students that focuses on enhancing problem-solving capabilities, sparking creativity, and fostering innovation. "It also reinforces and augments fundamental learning, and provides a fun environment to inspire curiosity," added Mahajan.
The Makerspace is a high-end workshop that offers students the use of 3-D printers, laser and vinyl cutters, and digital design (CAD) stations in a classroom, and also provides an outdoor space where students can use traditional crafting tools like wrenches and saws. "We offer four tracks for students, including Robotics, Computer Science, the Makerspace, and Digital Media/Design," explained Mahajan. "We pose a problem for students to solve, let them brainstorm with ideas, and then list constraints. The students create solutions to the problem using the tools available. We encourage them to fail early and fail often, so they learn to not limit themselves to the easy answers."
Mahajan is proud of the partnership he's developed with ACS. "The Avery Coonley School is steeped in wonderful tradition, but is very progressive, too," he said. "I'm amazed at the vision ACS has in utilizing the Makerspace to reinforce learning as part of its core curriculum. They're setting the tone for how these ideas and resources will be used in the future." For more information about the Makerspace at ACS, please contact:
The Avery Coonley School
1400 Maple Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 60515