Learning at Brandeis


After studying the work of woodworker and spoon carver EJ Osborne, middle schoolers in the BUILD elective are creating their own functional spoons and are utilizing the many tools available to them in our BUILD space. Take a look—and listen—at the process of making a wooden spoon!
In CREATE+BUILD, our approach is to infuse Brandeis's remarkable Jewish education with making, tinkering, digital fabrication, and design thinking principles centered on the concept of ethical creativity.

The acronymic names CREATE (Creativity, Reflection, Exploration, Awe, Tinkering, Entrepreneurship) and BUILD (Build, Understand, Innovate, Learn, Discover) provide the lexicon for our unique work. At Brandeis, this work of creativity and entrepreneurship, of building and discovering, is necessarily linked to the wider horizons of history, nation, and person- and people-hood. There is a responsibility to the world in Jewish ethics (present in our core values, especially tikkun olam) that these spaces embrace, empower, and celebrate—joyfully.

The CREATE space reimagines tinkering and design thinking in the context of Jewish education. At Brandeis, tinkering—the practice of using and reusing materials and objects to explore and understand the world—brings the creative and interpretive practices of Judaism into the physical world. Using the design thinking approach—a method that allows students to first identify the problem and question at hand and then to creatively resolve problems and create solutions—students dream, shape, invent, and adapt. By focusing on process rather than product, our students learn the value of invention literacy and the importance of constructing meaning through continuous reflection and iteration.

The BUILD space is the center of digital fabrication and making at Brandeis. In BUILD, students work with emergent technologies, are introduced to new materials, and are empowered through peer-led learning. Three-dimensional printers, CNC machines, professional-grade woodworking tools and traditional hand tools inspire possibilities and open up new avenues for student expression and exploration.

In 2016, CREATE+BUILD signed the Maker Promise—a partnership between the MakerEd Initiative and Digital Promise in support of President Obama's Nation of Makers call to action—and was recognized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy during the 2016 National Week of Making. Additionally, CREATE+BUILD recognized in the MIT MediaLab/Fab Foundation worldwide directory of member FabLab studios.