...These Students Will Solve It

By Brendan O'Brien | Academics, Upper School

With a curriculum backed by 3-D printers, laser cutters, and CNC machines, you might think Design Technology is a course from the future.

Luckily, for today’s Upper School students the future is now.

Rooted in problem solving, creative thinking, and collaboration, Design Technology, a new class taught by Izzi Buikus, unfolds at the intersection of art and science. (In a more literal sense, it also unfolds in Prairie’s Wonder Lab makerspace and robotics workshop.) And whether building a radio or studying wind turbines, the class is structured around a single, simple premise: assess a problem and work to solve it.

“Design is different than art because it solves an issue and answers a question,” says Ms. Buikus.

The problems and subjects presented to students are extensive: interior design, product design, woodworking, electronics, soldering, and aerodynamics. Not bad for a single semester of work.

While only three students are enrolled this fall, that number jumps to ten next semester. (The course will be capped at twelve to give all interested students a chance to enroll.)

And even if the course might intentionally slant towards the technical, Buikus – Prairie’s Visual Arts teacher – is sure to include plenty of the artistic.

“We focus on artists who use unconventional tools in their work,” she says.

Unconventional. Intentional. Motivational. Pick an adjective. They all apply to this awesome new Upper School course.