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3D LAB - Dream It. Design It. Do It.


San Domenico teachers understand the saying, “You never forget how to ride a bike,” all too well. They know that when we merely listen, we can remember information. When we see behavior or a lesson modeled for us, we are more likely to remember. But when we do, we are able to recall the greatest amount of information.

The 3D Lab Makers Program at San Domenico is both a physical space and a curricular approach that asks students to “Dream it! Design it! and Do it!” These verbs represent the Makers philosophy we integrate in classrooms at all school levels here at SD. With meaningful intentionality in programs anchored by hands on, digital, and design thinking, students K through 12 develop confidence, creativity, and mastery as they explore mathematics, science, art, history, design, coding, language arts, creativity, and engineering with a sense of creativity, inquiry, and adventure.


With the 3D Lab Makers Program at SD, we prepare students for the realities of the 21st century by empowering them with the ability to use systems and design thinking to adapt to change in a complex global society. Through visioning, problem solving, critical analysis, calculated risk-taking, constructive struggling, and collaborative, consciousness-shaping activities, students engage in invaluable, hands-on and experiential learning.

Students who participate in SD’s 3D Lab Makers Program create and innovate. In our 3d lab space, students tackle complex concepts, head on and welcome intricate challenges. Imagine facing the sometimes daunting, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) world, experimenting the way Newton, Carver or Curie did. Because students approach STEM content and curriculum as inventors, they increase their likelihood of retaining what they learn. Our 3D Lab Makers Program helps students internalize what we refer to as STREAM (STEAM programming with an added value of Reflection) curriculum in ways that are appealing to children, of all ages. In addition to studying physics, why not build a go-kart? Rather than trying to understand geometry as an abstract concept, why not create, with our 3D printer?


In our Lower School, the entry point for the Makers Program at San Domenico begins in first grade. At the beginning of the year, younger students learn how to use some basic hand tools like a tape measure, square, woodworking vise, and hand saw to create a “nail puzzle.” Third graders combine their science knowledge of birds and their habitats to create different types of birdhouses. Fourth graders, who study sustainability, created solar cars. In the process, they had to problem-solve and troubleshoot to construct a functioning car.

In our Middle School, students can sign up for one of five Tinkering electives, in which they learn to work with wood, create 3D models using CAD software (Tinkercad and 3D Tin), create 2D designs to be cut out in paper and vinyl, and experiment with basic electronic circuitry. For a Religion project, students used a 3D printer and CAD software, to create holy temples. For a sixth grade science class, Tinkerers used a vinyl cutter to build a pop-up book. Middle School students have also made wooden boats, xylophones, wearable electronics, go-karts, and “sand boards,” for dune surfing.

Upper School students put their CAD skills to the test, by stepping into the shoes of professional engineers. Rather than beginning with an idea, these students start with a problem and then build prototypes to solve it. Their classes revolve around a structure that mimics the professional world: they are “hired” to solve a particular problem or challenge, and they’re evaluated on their ability to alleviate the issue at hand. Most recently, their client was their own physics teacher, who needed ramps for upcoming lessons. Students created a variety of ramps, custom built, based on the “client’s” needs and requests.

By integrating the lessons of the Maker Movement in our curriculum, SD teachers are taking the best in student-centered teaching practices to engage learners of all ages. Our 3D Lab Makers Program inspires students to utilize critical thinking and problem solving to acquire skills necessary to master changing technologies, and to use tools which have not yet been created. While our students already have many opportunities to make and do, our formalized 3D Lab space will allow for more opportunities for SD students to explore, problem solve, and create within the paradigm of the Makers curriculum.

For more information about contributing to the 3D Lab Makers Program we invite you to contact our Advancement Office by telephone at 415.258.1931 or email at

Help our students Dream It, Design It, and Do It! Make a donation today.


3D Lab Update
This summer was very busy for the team working on bringing San Domenico's 3D Lab to life! We are working with and architects and planners at Marin County on the plans for the lab space.
Read More about 3D Lab Update