The Advent School | Summer Program
Experience The Advent School's unique engineering and design-based summer program for elementary school children.
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Design at Advent

Engineering & Design Summer Program

Welcome to The Advent School’s engineering and design summer program, Design at Advent. Each summer, Advent’s SMART Lab is transformed into a makerspace where children become designers, tinkerers, and builders. Design at Advent offers three completely unique two-week sessions for children ages 5 through 12.

Designers begin each session by sorting through recycled materials, learning proper tool use, and engaging in the design process. Each day, the designers and faculty set out to explore the city, play games, and gather inspiration. On the last Friday of each session, the designers share their creations and prototypes with friends and family at the Design Expo.

This summer, Design at Advent is being offered as a virtual program. Teachers and children will collaborate remotely to create a makerspace in their homes that fosters curiosity and independence as designers, tinkerers, and problem solvers.

We are offering nine weeks of engineering and design programming tailored to children aged 5 years to 12 years by September 1, 2020. Staying true to our values of repurposing found objects, designers will utilize recycled materials to construct their one of a kind creations.


Summer 2020 Program Hours & Fees

Program Hours: Tuesday – Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (EST)

Program Fees: $275 per child, per session

Financial aid is available to eligible families. Please email both Robin Wilson at and Jeff Morgan at to inquire about assistance.

Session Dates & Themes

June 16-June 18: Sustainable Cities: From transportation to conservation, designers in this session will investigate the challenges affecting our environment while constructing a model city out of recycled materials.

June 23-June 25: Rube Goldberg Machine: So you want to put toothpaste on your toothbrush? No problem! Knock over a series of dominos into a soup can. It rolls down a ramp and onto your toothpaste tube, squeezing just the right amount onto your toothbrush. If you are ready for the challenge, this is the session for you! Designers in this program will combine simple machines to create complex structures to solve everyday tasks in the most elaborate and ridiculous way possible!

June 29-July 2: Wearable Designs: Inspired by New Zealand’s World of Wearable Art competition, designers in this session will mold and manipulate unconventional materials into headpieces, armor, and innovative apparel.

July 7-July 9: Nature’s Architects: What does a spider web, a beaver dam, and maple seeds have in common? They are the inspiration for some of architecture’s greatest designs. Designers in this session will imitate natural structures to create an invention that solves a human problem.

July 14-July 16: Radical Robots: Inspired by the MIT Museums exhibit, Robots and Beyond, designers in this session will explore how to articulate robots using recycled objects and cardboard attachment techniques.

July 21-July 23: Soap Box Derby Racers: Ready, Set, Race! Designers in this session will investigate wheels and axles to construct race cars driven by gravity.

July 28-July 30: Curious Contraptions: Inspired by Joseph’s Machines, designers in this session will assemble ramps, pulleys, pivots, and hinges to create hilarious one of a kind contraptions.

August 4-August 6: Mission to Mars: 3, 2, 1, BLAST OFF! Designers in this session will explore the possible challenges of living on Mars. We will construct space stations and space suits while examining how to eat, breathe and live on our neighboring red planet.

August 11-August 13: Recycled Mini-Golf Course: Ramps, obstacles, and holes, oh my! Designers in this session will explore the principles of force, gravity, and kinetic energy while constructing an indoor mini-golf course out of found objects.

Our Philosophy

Advent’s summer program is grounded in the School’s mission. We believe:

  1. All children are creative problem solvers
  2. In the importance of collaboration
  3. Boston is an extension of the classroom, which helps children identify the needs of their communities and find inspiration

Philosophy in Action

In 2013, students in the summer program explored the concept of simple machines during a session called Marvelous Machines. The goal of this session was to create a Rube Goldberg machine that incorporated each type of simple machine. Watch the resulting machine in the video below!