Creativity and critical thinking.
Wheeler is now in its second year of an exciting partnership within Cambridge, MA. The only program of its kind in Rhode Island, Wheeler’s NuVuX Program brings a design + innovation curriculum to its Upper School students via rigorous, open-ended prompts that challenge students to engage in near-future and real-world problems around them. In its first year, students grappled with the future effects of climate change and designed high-tech wearables to protect humans from the extreme conditions in that future.
In spring 2020’s semester-long intensive, students spent 4 days a week focusing solely on these types of problems. During their Studio Term, students partnered with the Wheeler Nursery class to co-design developmentally appropriate, deployable play structures for the students, and used virtual reality design software to model and create their own, futuristic virtual worlds. NuVuX Design Fellowstarted at Wheeler full-time this fall 2020, and is excited to bring this groundbreaking program to students.
- Applied Physics & Experimental Design
- Aerie Enrichment Courses
- Aerie Independent Study
- Spring Seminar
- Design Club
NuVu, located in Cambridge, MA and founded in 2010 by PhDs and other graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, forms unique partnerships with schools in the public, private, charter, and international sectors. Students in the Wheeler program will work in an immersive studio-model outside of typical classrooms and traditional coursework, fusing subject matter as needed by working with faculty members from NuVu and Wheeler on solving big (or small) open-ended problems. An end-of-term portfolio documents the students’ design decisions and showcases their final product.
Wheeler Upper School students apply to the program. Those students accepted choose to participate in a series of “studios” developed in a unique collaboration between Wheeler and the team at NuVu. Each studio will center on a large-scale problem and a “hands-on-minds-on” project-based approach to solution-seeking that will have an impact on the community or world.
Faculty NuVuX coaches John Campbell, English Department Head, and Christine Perkins, Science faculty, work with NuVuX Fellow Molly Mason in the program.
The Academic & Co-Curricular Benefits of the NuVuX Studio Term at Wheeler
John Campbell, Head of the Wheeler English Department said, “This program is for students who want their learning to effect a direct and immediate impact on the world. NuVuX Studio Term will require students to attend to the needs of their local environment and develop a course of study that aims to address those needs through the practical application of the design process. Students in NuVuX learn to embrace the hands-on, trial-and-error nature of the iterative process while using both their empathy and creativity to drive their classwork.”
Science faculty member Christine Perkins said, “The NuVuX program offers students an immersive adventure in project-based learning. They will explore their ideas deeply, all the while collaborating with peers. They will embrace mistakes and discover which of their mistakes are the most valuable. They will change their own minds and the minds of others. They will learn to follow through on projects, from the very seeds of ideas to completely constructed products. This is the essence of creativity.”
The “NuVuX experience is a once in a lifetime thing full of self-discovery, valuable life lessons, fun times, new friendships, and designing skills. Once you learn about the design processes, you can embed this knowledge and these experiences into your life- even life outside of school. “ Mari Pokorny, Wheeler student in NuVuX Spring Term 2020 Immersive Program
Molly Mason is a designer, researcher, and educator. Her research examines digital fabrication tools, material processes in the digital age, and the relationship between craft knowledge and computational thinking. Molly received a Masters of Science from the Design and Computation Group from MIT and a Bachelor of Architecture from Pratt Institute, where her thesis “Culture Cultures” was awarded the Lee & Norman Rosenfeld Award for Best Thesis. She has practiced architecture and digital fabrication in NYC for several years and has helped create buildings and installations in multiple cities across the U.S. as well as internationally in China and Israel. Her research has been published as a part of the International Journal of Architectural Computing, as well as in recent Fabricate and IASS conferences. She currently works as a Workshop Specialist at Autodesk’s Technology Center in Boston where she acts as a fabrication consultant for innovative research in manufacturing and construction. When not making things for work, she enjoys making things for fun, hiking, cooking, gardening, and learning more about recycling.