WayFinding can be defined as spatial problem solving.  It is knowing where you are (history), knowing where your desired destination is (aspirations), and knowing how to get there from your present location (pathway).  Using Cambridge home of the “most innovative square mile on the planet” as a laboratory, WayFinders helps students discover the world of innovation, increase their expectations of becoming a part and uncovers pathways to these opportunities. 

In collaboration with Lead Designer Daniel Koff (Harvard GSD Alum & Adjunct Professor at Olin College), Lead Technologist Amon Millner (MIT Media Arts & Science, PhD, Assistant Professor at Olin College), students will design a walking tour highlighting significant events and people in the fields of Design, Science, Technology & Entrepreneurship. The tour will ultimately consist of 8-10 locations, each site marked by a custom designed sculpture (marker). Smartphone accessible multimedia content will enhance visitors experience (late 2018). The smartphone interface also serves as a teaching platform for web development and design.

WayFinders begins with an intensive 5-week Summer experience. Mornings are spent in Science, Math & Creativity Lab exploring topics including geometry, physics, material science, chemistry, structural engineering, 3D Printing and virtual reality.  Labs are hands-on and directly applicable to afternoon’s Design Studio. 

Afternoons are spent iterating between discovery (observation, interviews, primary/secondary research), synthesis of complex data, generation of ideas and prototyping. This collaborative and creative process yields unique designs reflective of the location’s character.  Weekly design reviews are conducted with property owners and interested parties. 

Since WayFinders is designed for actual customers, students are exposed to all aspects of product development from viability to feasibility.  Ultimately, designs are handed-off to a professional fabricator to build permanent structures.  Students can continue working on project during school year.  Projects take 9-12 months to complete. 

Project Goals:

  • Demonstrate how Design & STEM skills are used in the real-world
  • Increase youth awareness of opportunities and pathways in Cambridge’s thriving economy
  • Build student’s confidence in their abilities to become a part of Cambridge’s economic success.

WayFinders launched April 2017.  The demonstration vehicle is funded in part by a $25,000 grant from the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority.  The first marker will be installed in Galaxy Park, Kendall Square April 2018.  Other private and city-owned locations have been secured. Students can participate in WayFinders through our Summer and After-School Programs.

Summer Program / Application:

Grades: Rising 7th-10th
Dates:M-F, July 10 – August 11
Hours:10am – 3:45pm

Morning Session:10am – 12:00pm, Math, Science & Creativity Skills.
Afternoon Session: 12:45pm – 3:45pm, Project Studio

Cost: FREE
Location: Cambridge Public Library (Main Library) 449 Broadway Cambridge, MA

  • Youth 14+ may be able to apply for funding through Cambridge’s Mayor’s Program

More Details:  Summer Academy Details