Making to Learn: The Galilean Learning Project

Making to Learn: Galilean Learning

Birchwood School of Hawken students at SoulCraft Woodshop in Cleveland

During the past year, Mr. Debelak has been working with a team of teachers to develop a new program at Birchwood which is designed to enhance students’ skills in learning how to learn. It is called Making to Learn: The Galilean Learning Project. The program will give students experiences making and building things with their hands while they learn strategies for approaching and solving problems. Through the experience of making and building, combined with questioning strategies from teachers and mentors, students will develop learning strategies that can be applied to any domain of knowledge. This added dimension of making things with their hands accelerates and intensifies the process of “learning how to learn.” Students will also maintain a learning log in which they will record their own thought processes as they build.

galilean learning photo 2

Birchwood School of Hawken students working with Peter Debelak


Like all of the academic programming at Birchwood, this course has been developed by drawing together history and research. We are blending the creative problem-solving process that we have used at the school for 30 years with current educational trends in design thinking and project based learning. At the woodshop, the children will be under the direct oversight of Mr. Debelak and various math and science teachers who will work alongside the students to model and facilitate the thinking process.


For this pilot program the cost of the bus and professional fees are covered. If you would like to support the development of this program in design thinking in the way of a major gift, you may contact Laura Giust, Director of Development at