When do children start making? When does exploration and creation begin? The Bay Area Discovery Museum prepares young learners for just this with its new Fab Lab makerspace, the first of its kind for children 10 and under.
I had the chance to tour the new Fab Lab last week with Babe Liberman, Partnerships Coordinator for the Center for Childhood Creativity at the museum, who led us through this new space and shared the museum's goals with us.
As outlined on its home page, “The Fab Lab is a maker space with digital fabrication technology such as 3D printers, laser cutters and vinyl cutters. The Fab Lab exhibition allows children to intentionally build science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills through hands-on learning. “
It was exciting to see the alignment of STEM goals and the four C's of Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity in this inviting new museum space !
Roland vinyl cutter
Creating with found and recycled materials
Play and build outdoors with giant foam
STEM and Making in Costa Rica
In late April, I had the chance to spend a week in San Jose, Costa Rica, working with dedicated teachers, administrators and students at Lincoln School. During the week we were there, TechTerra Training helped Lincoln School launch 3D Printers across all grade levels. We introduced STEM tech tools to staff through an edtech playground. And we worked with primary students designing and creating an outdoor STEM lab.
View from Lincoln School fields
What struck me as I worked with the teachers, administrators and students of Lincoln School was how similar education goals are across the world. Educators want to know and understand the newest pedagogical and technological tools to be able to give their students the greatest opportunities. Students want to learn and grow. Committed, inspiring teachers foster critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity, within the classroom and beyond.
Edtech tool playground, hands-on learning
Teachers explore augmented and virtual reality tools
During the week we launched Flashforge Dreamer 3D printers with dual extruders and on-board computers. These are expansive learning tools with broad capability. Teachers gathered to learn and to question and to plan. They immediately understood the nature of 3d printing and its potential impact. Their next task was to fit this new tool into their learning objectives and project based learning plans.
Seeing, understanding, doing -- Printing in 3D for the first time
In helping to design an outdoor STEM Lab, we had the opportunity to see the expansive gardens of Lincoln School and to work directly with students. Working with groups of first through fifth graders we began planning and designing this new space for teaching and learning. These students saw the benefit of this outdoor space and went right to work, excited, highly engaged and focused.
Science teacher Cynthia Echevarria, technology instructor Iris Diaz, and TechTerra trainer Lynne Goodhand visit Lincoln School gardens
Breezy afternoon visiting the school's vegetable, herb and butterfly gardens
Students begin STEM Lab design on iPads
4 C’s in action as this student group collaborates and creates the components of the outdoor lab
Students measure and define the new STEM Lab space, with the support and coaching of . Lorena Villalta, technology instructor
Lincoln School is providing students with today’s tools -- 1:1 iPads, 3D printers, collaborative learning spaces, and now an outdoor STEM Lab, for authentic learning experiences.
I’m looking forward to being back at Lincoln School soon for the next phase of this work, helping to design a Makerspace suite with tools for students of all ages to imagine, explore, collaborate and create.