Makerspace and Engineering

We are excited to announce Riordan’s new STEAM offerings and Makerspace coming in the 2016-17 school year.

For the past two years, school leadership has evaluated launching a program at Riordan drawing on the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) fields and a hands-on, maker-style curriculum, with a focus on what would be appropriate and impactful for our current student population. This new program will build on Riordan’s existing strong math and science curriculum, and recently launched clubs with a like interest area, including the iPad Repair Club and the Robotics Club. We will also be one of a few schools in the Bay Area to have a Makerspace on campus. Watch this video that explains what is a Makerspace and the Maker movement.

A Makerspace is defined as a place where people get together to make things and where design, technology and human innovation intersect. Students will not only be challenged to create innovative products using tools such as a 3D printer or laser cutter, but will also develop relevant problem solving skills. The tangible benefits of a multidisciplinary collaboration through a true hands-on experience will pave a new road to the 21st century and replace what we once knew to be “shop class.” In addition to the Makerspace the following will be included:

  • New Classes such as Intro to Robotics, Maker Workshop with 3D Design, and Intro to App Development
  • Curriculum Development and Training for Teachers┬áso that all students can visit the Makerspace on a project basis. For example, a history course studying early civilizations could use the Makerspace to build models of prehistoric tools using a laser cutter.
  • Expanded STEAM-related clubs and extracurricular offerings such as a Maker Club focusing on hands-on projects in woodworking and metalworking; Robotics Club allowing more students to participate and compete at a variety of robotics competitions; Coding Club focusing on various levels of coding.

Engineering Track Launching in the 2017-18 School Year
Riordan will be launching a four-year honors engineering track with a focus on computer engineering, fabrication and design in the 2017-18 school year for qualified students. Each year students will take classes to build skills across multiple disciplines, with the goal that by their senior year, they will graduate as proficient programmers, engineers, designers, collaborators, and problem solvers.

Freshmen in the engineering track will take Computer Programming for iOS App Development with Swift. In their second year they will take on full stack web development with JavaScript, learning the cutting edge tools in the Node.js ecosystem. Junior year is by far the the most intense of the entire track, with students taking AP Computer Science with Java and Android Development, and also 3D Game Development with Unity. During senior year they will finish with Advanced Computer Science which focuses on algorithms, data structures, and optimization. The track will also offer summer internship opportunities in web, app or game development, or electronics.

Why a Focus on Engineering?
By building this Makerspace and enhancing our STEAM curriculum, we will better prepare the young men of Riordan to enter the workforce with the skills necessary to begin a successful career in the highly competitive engineering field or continue their education in any of the STEAM fields. This exciting new and forward-thinking approach will adequately position our student body to compete in a constantly changing global economy.

Thank You To Our STEAM Donors
Thank you to the many generous donors who supported our spring 2016 campaign through SVGives, including a $20,000 matching grant from the Michael and Sally Mayer Family Foundation.