The Roxbury Latin Invention, Design, Engineering, and Art (IDEA) Lab was conceived and designed in 2013 and built in the summer of 2014. Influenced by Makerspaces and Fab Labs around the world, RL imagined this space as a community hub for creativity and learning. We endeavor to provide a space where all potential roadblocks to the creative and engineering design processes are torn down. The IDEA Lab provides the spaces (flexible and specific-use), tools (digital, traditional, and digital fabrication), and time (classes, clubs, and open shop time) for our boys to explore and manipulate the world around them.

Math-Science Investigations is the curricular cornerstone of the space. A required course in the 9th grade, MSI is a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) driven, project-based, integrated course. It aims to give students an introduction to engineering and problem-solving, and emphasizes the real-world applications of mathematics and science while utilizing cutting edge technology tools. The importance of aesthetics in the design process, particularly when it comes to communicating one’s ideas, underlies every project the boys take on.

Times are set aside each week before, during, and after school, for Open Shop: an opportunity for students to explore the potential of the Lab and their own creative potential. Students may opt to take part in guided projects or to bring their own ideas and projects to life. We encourage the boys to explore the wide spectrum of making, from traditional fine woodworking to flying quadcopters. Each project they attempt builds and develops their knowledge, skill, and creative confidence: their ability to approach a new problem with the confidence that they can make strides toward a solution.

Roxbury Latin is currently developing an upper-level (junior/senior) Engineering course, which will give our boys an opportunity to take their excitement and interests that were developed in MSI to a higher level, and explore in greater depth what it is that an engineer does. We are excited to introduce this new opportunity for our boys in 2016-17.

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