For many of our designers, creating experiences in Next Gen and STEM learning resonates very close to home. We have a passion for thinking outside of the box- whether it’s through the community, at home, or for the holidays; our designers share their favorite approaches to engaging their children in STEM activities after hours and outside of the classroom.


Watch out SpaceX, There’s a New Inventor in Town.

Architectural Design Director, Kenneth Ong, AIA and his 6-year-old son, Ryan, engaged in a fun STEM activity at the Astounding Inventions 2017 event. Ryan had great fun building and launching several iterations to improve the design and durability of his rocket.


Who Needs an iPad When You Can Build Your Own Computer?

Director of Strategy, Renee Rose Andrade and her husband help their 6-year-old daughter, Aria, build her own Kano computer. Aria has an enduring interest in computer technology (aka iPads and iPhones), and now she has a blast learning to code games, art, music and even apps on her Kano computer.


Put the Elf Back on the Shelf. Leprechaun Traps Spark Creativity That’s as Good as Gold.

Senior Interior Designer, Vickie Nicola, CID and her 5-year-old-son, Gavin, create traps to capture mischievous Leprechauns in the weeks leading up to St. Patrick’s Day. Gavin builds the Leprechaun traps out of blocks, legos, and toys and then puts a coin in the center. The goal being to lure in the Leprechaun and have the structure collapse and trap him. It makes for exciting mornings when the family dog or cat knocks the trap down the night before, because Gavin is convinced his traps are working!

IPSF’s Second Annual STEAM Carnival attracted 3,000 students and parents who enjoyed an afternoon of robotics, human foosball, painting, Minecraft programming, a 3D Virtual puzzle, choir performances and scavenger hunting.

Learning is fundamentally social, and sometimes the best way to inspire learning is through play. On Saturday, April 30th, Westgroup Designs (WD), along with 48 other companies, participated in Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF)’s Second Annual STEAM Carnival. This year’s event attracted over 3,000 attendees, featuring hands-on games and activities to local students related to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.

WD challenged students to solve their activity, Cubies, a 3D virtual puzzle. Children in kindergarten through 8th grade had to recreate a stack of 3D blocks using 2D orthographic drawings [top view, front view, side view.] Depending on the age and skill level of the student, the puzzle ranged from an easy composition of 4 blocks to several blocks of varying shapes. After a brief tutorial of 2D orthographic drawings and how they relate to the 3D virtual blocks, the students used the touchscreen display to rearrange the blocks in order to solve the puzzle.

Prizes included keychain Rubix cubes and a LEGO Architecture set of the New York skyline.

Funds raised from the IPSF STEAM Carnival go towards schools in the Irvine Unified School District and support district-wide programs such as Classroom Support, Fine Arts, Music, and Science, grants to teachers in the classroom, Summer Enrichment program and more.

To learn more about Irvine Public Schools Foundation, click here.