Punahou School

Punahou School
Honolulu, HI

School Description
Punahou School nurtures the individuality of each child within a vibrant K – 12 school community that celebrates diversity, inspires excellence and connects students for life.

Located in Honolulu, Hawaii, With an enrollment of 3,750 students, Punahou is the largest coeducational, independent K – 12 school on a single campus in the United States. Students at Punahou have unparalleled opportunities to cultivate their unique interests and talents under the guidance of attentive and caring teachers. Rigorous academics, robust programs in athletics and the arts, and an array of co-curricular opportunities offer an integrated, 21st-century education for the whole child.

“Our mission is to create the conditions for children to reach their highest potential … Ultimately, a person who is well-prepared, creative and compassionate can change the world.”
Punahou School President Jim Scott

Students exemplify the diversity and strength of Hawai`i and reflect the School’s commitment to providing robust, need-based financial aid. When students graduate from Punahou, they join a network of 35,000 alumni spanning the globe. Beyond excellent scholars, the School seeks to develop engaged global citizens who can strengthen their communities.

Gates Learning Center, located in the Case Middle School, but serving all grades (K-12). Metal working side of the shop.
Gates Learning Center, located in the Case Middle School, but serving all grades (K-12). Metal working side of the shop.

Description of Maker Space
There are myriad spaces on campus:

Kindergarten-1st grade studios
Spaces within Kindergraten and 1st grade classrooms

Castle Makery (Grades 2-5)
An experimental common room for craft and prototyping activities. Feedback will help the upcoming Epic Center space.

Robotics/engineering lab (Grades 4-12)
From FIRST Lego League through FIRST Robotics Competition, and middle school and high school engineering/technology classes, this space houses over 100 students throughout a given semester. There is dedicated workspace for projects, a basic metal workshop (lathe, mill, drill press), and a 3D printer.

Case Middle School Woodshop (Grades 6-8)
Woodshop is required for all 6th graders and is an elective for 7th and 8th grade students. Grade level projects are chosen with age appropriateness and course length in mind. Safety and attention to detail are emphasized. Support for “drop in” student projects is also provided, as well as a Shop Service Club, where students work on projects that serve our community.

Gates Science Workshop (Grades K-12)
Junior School (K-8) students come through this space every semester to experience hands-on science demonstrations, often facilitated by Academy (9-12) students.

Luke Center for Public Service (Grades K-12)
The Luke Center embraces community service, service learning and social entrepreneurship for grades K – 12, contributing to the school’s public service and sustainability initiatives. While community service involves traditional volunteering and philanthropy, service learning describes thoughtfully organized service that is linked to the curriculum. Social entrepreneurship teaches students to become innovative problem solvers and agents of social change.

Pop-up makeries
Ad-hoc spaces and experiments for the future of our makerspaces throughout campus.

K-1 Makery Studio where students work on joint projects related to a shared theme.
K-1 Makery Studio where students work on joint projects related to a shared theme.

Description of Program
The contexts vary from curricular to extra-curricular. We are hoping that more classes can use our makerspaces as a resource to help build models, functional and visual, for their particular situation. The robotics programs at all ages has been thriving in recent years and we want to add on that with opportunities to build technological solutions to real-world problems in our community and abroad. Here are guiding principles for the Academy Ken Richardson Learning Lab, currently under development:

The Ken Richardson Learning Lab provides a physical and mental environment where students can learn by doing, developing their ideas and making them visible as concrete, workable designs.

The Learning Lab

  • Encourages students to dive into the unknown, to take conceptual risks, to embrace failure as a learning opportunity, and to problem-solve through iteration
  • Emphasizes the development and testing of ideas through fabrication
    values safety and assists students in learning how to calculate and manage physical risks
  • Promotes collaboration and learning from others
  • Showcases both the developmental process and the products of students’ explorations
  • Enables students to pursue self-directed explorations of their passions and interests
  • Supports students as they engage in design projects from the formal and informal curricula

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Examples of How the Space is Being Used
Here is just a sampling of the variety of projects that have been done in our spaces.

Civil Engineering club students built an improved portable aquaponics system for the Institute for Human Services, Oahu’s largest 24 hour emergency homeless shelter.

A senior AP Art student created an animatronic system with 3d-printed parts and constructed and cast a silcone rubber skin for a mythical creature.

Robotics teams of all levels learn engineering, design, and teamwork all throughout the year.

A 2nd grade class had an exploration in bioengineering where they considered sea animals and the potential injuries they may sustain. The students used the makerspace to prototype ideas that would help the injured animals.

Students have made prototypes of of machines for a medieval history project.

Design Thinking club students have held workshops for different constituent groups—faculty and students alike, inside and outside of Punahou.

Future Plans
We are excited about opportunities at multiple age levels for new spaces that will be dedicated to making, building, engineering, and designing. Our makerspaces will become places of convergence for our students, faculty, staff and a community resource for people to “build to think” creatively on both curricular projects and those generated from student inquiries. Also, we know ideas and projects will come up from just tinkering!

We are focused on helping existing classes bring “making” into their curriculum and providing a space for student clubs and student-driven projects. With these capabilities on campus, students and teachers alike will be able to work on projects that can connect with established community and service partners. With the opportunity of three distinct spaces on campus, we are aware of the balance it takes to make this a success. We want each space to be unique and tailored to the population in mind. However, we want to make sure that there is a continuity and consistency across the spaces.

  • Junior School Epic Center
  • Academy Ken Richardson Learning Lab
  • Academy Learning Commons Makeries

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Design the revolution: Blending Learning, Leading and Innovation

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