When Castilleja girls roll up their sleeves, build and create in our innovative makerspaces, they gain hands-on practice in turning abstract concepts and ideas into physical reality and prototypes.

At Castilleja, we believe that every student has the ability to design and create innovative solutions to today’s problems. By engaging in a variety of hands-on making, tinkering, and engineering projects, students hone core competencies that empower them as innovators. Such constructionist projects also drive deep learning, foster student initiative, and allow students to forge connections between academic disciplines. We are a member of the FabLearn Labs network, a project of Professor Paulo Blikstein's Transformative Learning Technologies Lab at Stanford University.

Bourn Idea Lab

The Bourn Idea Lab is Castilleja’s primary makerspace, engineering design studio, and robotics lab.

Named in memory of Doug Bourn, a former mentor on Castilleja's robotics team, the Bourn Idea Lab is a key component of Castilleja's larger vision for the 21st century. The Bourn Idea Lab is outfitted with an assortment of digital fabrication equipment, traditional shop tools, and a wide variety of materials.

The lab empowers students and teachers to turn their ideas into tangible objects; emphasis is placed on prototyping ideas and engaging with the design process. Projects in the lab also allow students to continue practicing their spatial reasoning skills, which research has shown to be particularly important for girls in retaining their interest in STEAM subjects and preparing them to pursue future careers in STEAM fields.

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Middle School Tinkering Nook

The Middle School Tinkering Nook, opened in 2017, makes making at Castilleja even more visible and accessible to students, especially those in our Middle School.

Integrated into the main lobby of our Middle School building, the Nook invites girls to come and "tinker" for fun in a low-pressure yet dynamic environment. The creation of the Middle School Tinkering Nook embodies our philosophy of making. Hands-on problem solving, design thinking, and engineering are not relegated merely to one space on campus, but are integrated into the culture of Castilleja throughout the school.

Robotics at Castilleja

The Bourn Idea Lab is also home of Castilleja's robotics programs, including our award-winning FIRST Robotics team, Team 1700 Gatorbotics, and our FIRST Lego League teams.

In the Middle School, students build robots to compete in a series of challenges in the FIRST Lego League Competition. In the Upper School, Gatorbotics Team 1700 faces a new engineering challenge every year as part of the FIRST Robotics Competition. Over 30 students specialize in mechanical engineering, electronics, programming, and/or entrepreneurship and are mentored by industry professionals.

For Educators

We believe that maker education is an important educational experience for all learners and would love to connect with other educators who are interested in designing making experiences to engage students. Come tour our makerspaces, participate in online communities dedicated to maker education, or join us at one of our workshops or conferences; we’d love to learn and share with you!

Meet the Team

Bridget Rigby

Titles: Director of the Bourn Idea Lab

Nico Gallo

Titles: Robotics Advisor and Bourn Lab Faculty

Christina Courtney

Titles: Faculty Member, Science, Faculty Member, Computer Science, Faculty Member, Bourn Idea Lab


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Middle School Tinkering Nook: