Kindergarten through Grade 9 in Southborough, MA

Innovation Lab

Design, Build, Learn!

The Innovation Lab is Fay’s 3,000 square-foot lab space dedicated to programming, designing, building, and tinkering. This is where our students learn about the world of invention, design, and creative problem solving. We believe that essential learning goes beyond books and theoretical “what ifs”—and we know that when students design, build, iterate, and revise their creations, they build a real-world understanding 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 media and materials, including circuitry, robotics, wood, paper, and textiles.

You never know what you’ll find when you stop by the Innovation Lab for a visit. You might see second graders designing a car to stop at the end of a bench using weights and a ball of string, or a group of ninth graders building electronic circuits or programming arduino boards to control robot arms. The goal is to get students thinking like designers and tinkering with a purpose. 
“I love working in the Innovation Lab—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 space

    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 construction, with shelves of “low tech” tools and materials suitable for hands-on building. Students have access to a range of hand tools and equipment, including saws, rasps, and clamps.
  • A "fab lab"

    that includes tools for 21st-century fabrication. Desktop computers equipped with 3D imaging software are connected to a rear projection table, a  MakerBot for 3D printing, a subtractive printer that cuts into foam with a dremel head, a 3D imager, and a vinyl cutter.
  • A tinker space

    dedicated to project work for students across all disciplines and grade levels, where students have access to tools and materials for projects that support learning in mathematics, science, the humanities, and the arts.

Case Study: Design the Perfect Sneaker

Recently, Fay teamed up with the Converse Shoe Company for a sneaker design project. Twenty-four Upper School students with an interest in design spent nine weeks immersed in the athletic shoe design process, from inspiration to prototype. The design challenge: to develop an “all-round” sports shoe targeted to the teenage market that incorporates smart technology. Click here to read more about the sneaker design project.

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 this year:

- Coding (Lower School)
- Tinker Club (Upper School)Students develop making skills using a variety of tools and machines to design and make useful objects.  

- Coding Club (Upper School)
- Creativity Design Club (Upper School)  Students work on coding skills in HTML, Javascript, and other languages. No previous knowledge required.
- 3D Design CAD/CAM (Upper School) 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.
- Tinker Club (Upper School)  Students develop making skills using a variety of tools and machines to design and make useful objects.  

- Electronics Club (Lower School)
- Fashion Accessories Club (Upper School) - Design collaborative in partenership with Savannah College of Art & Design and retail fashion chain Fat Face
- Tinker Club (Upper School)  Students develop making skills using a variety of tools and machines to design and make useful objects.