The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA

Innovation Lab

Design, Build, Learn!

The Fay School Innovation Lab is a 3,700 square foot lab space open to Fay faculty, staff, and students from K through ninth grade, with dedicated spaces for video production, programming, designing, building, and tinkering. It is home to our Creativity and Design Program.
We want to introduce students to the world of invention, design, and creative problem solving, and we believe that essential learning goes beyond books and theoretical “what if’s”.  When students design build, iterate, and revise their creations, they participate in real-world applications of engineering and design principles. Along the way, they learn important life lessons about creativity, grit, failure, and success.

Students in the Innovation Lab learn about design as a process: identifying a problem and the target market, generating design specs, building and testing prototypes, and ultimately creating a finished product that is useful, functional, beautiful, and sustainable. Over the course of their time at Fay, students create projects that incorporate a range of graphic medium and materials, including CAD / CAM, electronics, robotic control, wood, metal, plastic, paper and textiles.

You never know what you’ll find when you stop by the Innovation Lab for a visit. You might see a class of second graders designing a car to stop at the end of a table using weights and a ball of string. Or a group of ninth graders building mono speakers or programming robot arms to move bales of hay from one basket to another. The goal is to get students thinking like designers, and tinkering with a purpose. 
“I love Creators Class—it has been one of my most valuable experiences at Fay. I enjoy sharing my passion for design with others, and I’ve learned that it’s not about coming up with one great design. I should generate as many ideas as I can.” – Seventh grader

What's in the Innovation Lab?

List of 4 items.

  • A design room

    for brainstorming and collaboration where students are inspired to think and work like professional designers, responding to real world design briefs. The space is set up with individual workstations conducive to creativity and the design process. The space also features a full “green screen” wall for video production.
  • A maker space

    for building and prototyping ideas using a range of modeling materials. This room is also generously equipped for assembling and testing electronic circuits.
  • A "fab lab"

    that includes machinery for 21st century fabrication. Desktop computers equipped with the latest design software are connected to 3D Printers, including additive and resin, a CNC milling machine for cutting and shaping metal, a CNC router for cutting flat wooden boards, a large industrial-standard laser for cutting plastic and wood, CNC vinyl cutters for signs and transfers and two 3D imagers.
  • A tinker space

    dedicated to project work for students across all disciplines and grade levels, where students have access to a range of hand tools and equipment, including a press drill, disc and belt sander, scroll saw, vacuum former, plastic heat bender, and bandsaw. 

What can you make in the Innovation Lab?

Where do we begin? Here are just a few examples to get started, but you can read more here.
Clock Design  Fay third graders use 2D design software to design analog clocks, cut them on the laser cutter, and fit them with hands and motors. The clock themes run the gamut, from a Superbowl clock, to an asteroid hurtling toward earth and even a clock shaped like a chicken! These essential tools help students build number sense and practice computation strategies as they solve time problems. Read more >>
The Perfect Chair  In a partnership project with Barnes & Noble, students in Advanced 3D Design designed and built comfortable cardboard chairs for some extremely challenging clients—Fay’s own first graders! Ninth graders interviewed students to learn about desired design features and then improved their prototypes based on client feedback. Read more >>
Pentominoes  Fourth graders use pentominoes—sets of twelve polygon pieces each composed of five equal-sized squares—to explore congruence and spatial relationships, two essential underpinnings of geometry. Students design their own pentomino puzzles using 2D design software and create their puzzles in the Innovation Lab. Read more >>

Case Study: LED Flashlight

In the spring, eighth graders in Creators’ Class are challenged to design and make a flashlight that is sustainable, ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing. While the task may appear straightforward, it offers students the opportunity to apply a wide range of skills and knowledge from CAD and CAM, to understanding the purpose of electronic components. Building a flashlight that is functional and useful are big factors too for success—not to mention designing an eye-catching flashlight that a customer would want to buy!

Club Opportunities

There are plenty of opportunities for students to get involved in club activities in our Innovation Lab! Here's a sampling of what we offered in the past:

  • Tinker Club - Students develop making skills using a variety of tools and machines to design and make useful objects.  
  • Creativity Design Club - Students work on coding skills in HTML, Javascript, and other languages. No previous knowledge required.
  • 3D Design CAD/CAM - Students learn how to use Blender, 123 Design, and TinkerCad then make what they have designed using 3D printers, a laser cutter and vinyl plotter.
  • Fashion Accessories Club - Design collaborative in partnership with Savannah College of Art & Design and retail fashion chain Fat Face

Please fill out the form below to start the enrollment process and to receive information about our programs and upcoming events.