Design Labs

Hands-On Design Thinking

From piecing together artificial limbs to building solar-powered racecars, design has been a hallmark of St. Andrew’s curriculum for nearly a decade. Students on both of our campuses have access to collaborative spaces to design and make things that will shape their habits, minds, skills and creativity.

The D! Lab

The D! Lab opened in Fall 2016 on our Postoak Campus and features a professional industry grade 3D printer, which creates three-dimensional objects by stacking thin layers of a material; a laser cutter; and a milling machine, which carves out sections of material. There is also a full range of tools for making prototypes and models as well as university-standard software for designing projects that will be produced on the machines.

The first students to use the D! Lab included the 9th-grade service learning class, which created a human-centered design project to address the unique needs of the D.C. region’s homeless.

Guide to Imagination

In Fall 2017, St. Andrew’s D!Lab and the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning ( will publish a new book titled “Guide to Imagination.” This workbook will highlight the work of Design Thinking and how it informs curriculum at St. Andrew’s. A sneak peak of the workbook, which includes design-thinking activities, was included in the Spring 2017 alumni magazine. Click here to download a copy of the guide.
"Most schools have gone the ‘Let’s make stuff’ route. Our school has always distinguished itself by how we think about others, serve others and care for others. Humanity is the purpose for us.” ~ Charles James, Science Teacher and Director of the D! Lab.

Lower School Design Lab

The Lower School Design Lab was created with little hands and big imaginations in mind. It features tools ranging from tape measures and scissors to hammers and saws, colorful consumables like construction paper and cotton balls, and walls outfitted with circuits, Velcro and Lego blocks.

Lessons in the Design Lab are inspired by the interests and passions of students. For example, a weeklong study of the solar system in Kindergarten turned into a month-long, in-depth modeling of the solar system.

At its core, Design Thinking is about creating human-centered solutions to real-world problems. But with young students, it begins with open-ended problems - from paper and tape, can you create a structure that can withstand the equivalent of hurricane force winds - that require creativity and the willingness to try (and fail) until they discover a solution that works.

Click here to learn more about the Lower School Design Lab.

Tinkering and Technology Ideas

Our Math and Science departments have compiled a list of free software and subscription services to help you enrich your child's learning with design-thinking activities. Current families can access this list by logging in to and clicking the "Tinkering and Technology Resources" link under the "Resources" tab. Prospective families can contact Kim O'Shaughnessy, Head of the Science Department, for more information.
“They are fearless in their learning, and if you get them hooked on design and science at an early age, they will soar and excel. It has to start now, and it is happening now.” ~ Hilarie Hall, Science Teacher and 2016 Recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

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St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private, coeducational college preparatory day school for students in preschool (Age 2) through grade 12, located in Potomac, Maryland.