Mark Day School
39 Trellis Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903

in the lab

Our Open Lab has been a special part of our campus and curriculum since 2013. Home to tinkering activities during class, lunch, and after school, the Open Lab is a place where students can build and explore. We are looking forward to our new, expanded Creativity Lab opening mid-fall 2017.

Featured Project: 1st Grade Bubble Wands

The bubble blast project has been in effect for a few years to enhance a 1st grade science lesson about the states of matter. It provides an early opportunity to explore the lab, and to begin to design and iterate.

During the design stage, students have to rethink their imaginative bubble wands to fit realistic parameters. Together, students brainstorm ideas about other materials they could use to create a bubble wand. They also determine if they want a wand that produces big or small bubbles, sketch out their new bubble wand ideas, and explain why they chose that design.

When their prototypes are ready, students head straight outside to test them. They complete a recording sheet indicating how their first wand worked and identify changes that need to be made. Students continue the iteration process until they have a functional bubble wand they are satisfied with.

Featured Project: Building Solar Machines

After studying sustainable power sources such as wind, solar energy, and biofuel, 5th grade students gathered in the lab to learn about the concept of work as it pertains to physical engineering. They were given a challenge--to build a motorized machine powered by solar cells. First, they worked in pairs to brainstorm ideas and prototype small models, deciding between a series or parallel circuit for their respective machines. Using cardboard, wood, and other crafting materials, students designed their machines. When students had working machines, they presented in front of peers and faculty. Examples of machines included a book page turner, a seed planting system, massagers, and cars.