Builders At Work

GDS Campers Learn about Homelessness and Bridge Building
As construction of our new Lower/Middle school building gets underway soon, we have some fine young leaders who are bound to help in this exciting unification process. Never mind some of them are only five years old.

Problem-solvers at GDS’s Creative Challenges Camp tackled several construction projects of their own this summer. As with any STEAM design project, architects and engineers develop an understanding of its purpose within and for a community.
  • What is needed in a school?
  • How do we make someone feel at home?
  • Where will this boat travel?
  • Who will make connections across this bridge?
Some campers shared a dialogue with Mr. Waldon Adams from Friendship Place, a DC-based housing services provider, to better understand the lives of people experiencing homelessness. Recent graduate Catherine Hay ‘18 is working several GDS camps this summer and describes the way the conversation explored essential and dream elements for homes. In typical kid-fashion, sometimes a “candy room” seems just as essential as a roof.

Each session of campers constructed models to take on several challenges:

One group explored the scientific method through a challenge to build a boat that could carry an egg across to their “neighbor.” Their inquiry-based process helped them test prototypes, evaluate seaworthiness, and make improvements. Not only did they learn about buoyancy and balance, but they learned to communicate with peers for a safe egg delivery!

Rising first grader Oliver ‘30 reported, “I built my own boat at camp. It was complicated, and it was fun. MY boat floated in the water.” Then, with a grin, “One of the teacher’s boats kept tipping over that way,” he continued, leaning over in his chair.

Some built bridges:

“We made [our bridge] out of popsicle sticks and tape and corks,” says Sunny ‘27. “It was sturdy––stood up fine...We all pretty much pitched in to help. We talked to each other about it before we started about what it was going to look like and what type of bridge it was going to be. Ours was a truss bridge.”

It might as well have been a trust bridge to hear Sunny describe their process. We say that a GDS student will build networks and collaborate across difference. You can bet a GDS Summer Studies camper will, too!

While playing and puzzling, these young makers are developing truly essential skills and 21st century capacities. Nevertheless, despite our eagerness for One GDS, let’s stick to those design models for now and hold off on the heavy machinery for these five to ten-year-olds!


4530 MacArthur Boulevard, NW, Washington, DC 20007


4200 Davenport Street, NW, Washington, DC 20016

Georgetown Day School is a coed, preK-12, non-sectarian private school in Washington, DC with small class sizes and a diverse school community. Our comprehensive, innovative curriculum includes hands-on learning, honors and AP classes, as well as advanced-level math and STEM courses. An education is not just college prep and SAT scores. GDS teachers focus on providing the best education for each child, from elementary grades through high school. The school performing arts program includes theater, dance, and music. The athletics program offers competitive sports for student athletes, including cross-country, track, soccer, lacrosse, and crew/rowing. With our strong commitment to financial aid, an independent school tuition is affordable.