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Design Lab

Michael Pope

The Barre Town Middle & Elementary School Design Lab represents a new course of study that transforms the traditional “Art” and “Technology Education” classes for grades 6-8. By combining design methodology with state-of-the-art digital fabrication tools, traditional woodworking tools, and classic artistic mediums, students have the opportunity to uniquely tackle real-life challenges and express their creative passions.

Kids standing around a table

Since its inception in the fall of 2016, Design Lab has focused on three primary goals:

  • DESIGN = PROCESS: Enable students to understand and explore design as a universally applicable problem solving process and way of thinking. Students are not expected to leave Design Lab as master carpenters, draftsmen, engineers, or artists. Instead, the expectation is that they leave being better thinkers.

  • LEARNING THROUGH FAILURE: Allow students to embrace risk & failure as learning mechanisms. Students direct their own projects, stumbling through assorted pitfalls and triumphs, with the teacher acting as a cheerleader and a resource, not as a leader.

  • MEANINGFUL MAKING: Facilitate student engagement with meaningful challenges. By choosing their own projects, students explore the topics that they find most meaningful.