Maker Design & Engineering

What is Maker, Design and Engineering education?

Maker, Design and Engineering (MDE) is an inquiry-based learning approach that utilizes the process of creating as a way to learn and grow. MDE is grounded in design thinking. Students expand their capacity for empathy, prototyping, and feedback as they make a product for a real user. Through the process of designing, making, building, tinkering, and iterating students develop skills for critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and a greater sense of agency.

Where is the impact?

Transformation in Practice

Maker-Design Education (MDE) is founded on the idea that we learn by doing. In a MDE class, students don’t just learn about the tools in the lab. Rather, they use the tools in the lab to learn about what’s possible. Our students pair this idea with the design thinking methodology to become problem solvers and make an impact in the world around them. Along the way, they develop a sense of independence, gaining invaluable confidence in their ability to navigate a complex world.

MV Case Study

MDE Bicycles

Mount Vernon students were inspired by Mission Bicycle, a company based out of San Francisco that builds practical and customizable bicycles by hand, designed by riders. As a part of an MDE project, students invited users – mountain biking enthusiasts – into the classroom to be interviewed about potential bike prototypes. From there, students experimented with building bikes that met the needs of their users as they discovered opportunities to apply the principles they were learning in their math and science courses to a real-life challenge.

External Case Study

The Dewey Schools

MV Ventures partnered with The Dewey Schools, a network of schools across Vietnam, to train teachers and administration to create and implement high-quality Maker, Design, and Engineering learning experiences for K-12 students. During this year-long project, a team of MVV consultants led faculty and administration through monthly interactive, online coaching workshops to guide them in planning and implementing MDE curriculum based on the Mount Vernon Maker approach, the MV Compass model for Design Thinking, and an overall inquiry-based learning methodology. “We aren’t learning to use a 3D printer, we’re using a 3D printer to learn” says Chris Andres, Maker, Design, and Engineering Coordinator and lead-consultant on this project. MVV coaching resulted in a great capacity for The Dewey Schools’ team to create and lead learner-centered MDE experiences which develop students’ sense of agency as they are making a positive impact on the world around them right now.

How do I get started?

Excited? Curious? Overwhelmed? Check out these step-by-step resources to guide you along your Maker, Design and Engineering Education journey.


Want more information on maker, design, and engineering?  Let us know where you are on your journey.  Transformation needs a guide.  We can help. 

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