The Design Process is a simple model that can be implemented in in all subject areas and grade levels. The underlying idea of the Design Process is that no project is ever perfect or complete. As educators we and our students should be of the mindset that we can always be innovating and improving our work!
The Mobile Fab Lab offers projects on three different design levels:
Introduction– these projects introduce students (and teachers) to the technology available in the Mobile Fab Lab and possible to the design process. These projects are mostly a one hour or one day project. An example of this type of project could be creating a holiday ornament that was laser cut. Students get to learn about the laser and see it in action and fabricate a small object, but no questions were asked for design work was completed.
Intermediate- these projects allow students to use the technology in the Mobile Fab Lab and do a small amount of design work. These projects are mostly one to two day projects. An example of this type of project would be the Create a Bird House project- students get to draw rudimentary blue prints of a bird house and use software with the help of the Fab Lab team to digitize those plans and laser cut the cardboard pieces needed to create the bird house which can then be put together with hot glue.
Full Design- these projects require the students to answer a design challenge question and/or evaluate and improve their designs. These projects take four to ten days to complete (or can be done over the course of a grading period). An example of this type of project would be building upon the intermediate bird house project, students would then evaluate their designs based on the cardboard prototype to draw more accurate blue prints and improve on their digital design before laser cutting the pieces out of wood to be put together with nails and wood glue so the bird houses could actually be put outside and used by the community.