To register for any event at the EPC DF-STEM Lab, please click HERE!
To register for any event at the EPC DF-STEM Lab, please click HERE!
It is wonderful to see so many young girls involved with STEM with the Mobile Fab Lab program in CMSD. Our hope is that by exposing students at a young age to Digital Fabrication, that more students, girls particularly, choose to focus on STEM related studies in high school and pursue a degree in a STEM field. Organizations like the Girl Scouts are doing great work with promoting STEM with their members.
I recently received an email including a note from a 7th grade girl, Bella who had found the MFL website and was excited about the projects we show here. She shared this article with us about Tips on how to get girls involved with STEM. Check it out!
THE CMSD MOBILE FAB LAB BELIEVES…
This list was compiled by Sarah Prendergast Wallace. The projects are a conglomerate of projects that can be found all over the web, some great resources are: thingiverse.com, tinkercad.com, scopesdf.com, makerbot.com.
Digital Fabrication has changed the way the world designs and makes things. It has allowed people with an idea to hold a tangible realization within days or even hours. Pushing DF into K-12 formal education has allowed tactile learners to experience content in new ways, shown students a different way to think about things in three dimensions, and provided users of all ages a new way to demonstrate their learning while mastery 21st-century skills.
I believe, that if you are on the DF in schools bandwagon, you most likely agree with the idea that Digital Fabrication is great. Great for students, great for teachers, all around great. It is also expensive.
The Fab Foundation has a great post on how to set up a Fab Lab, and what you’ll need to do so. They estimate that the cost to start a full lab is $40k-$100k in machines and consumables. That is a LOT of money.
In the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, we are lucky enough to work with The Cleveland Cavaliers and Goodyear. Those two companies have generously given the district $500,000 over five years to promote STEM in CMSD. We are so excited and thankful for this generosity and are looking forward to what our teachers and scholars can do with it!
We could have bought top of the line, no expense spared equipment that could make professional grade impressive things. But we didn’t. We’ve opted for Frugal Fab.
Digital Fabrication in a K-8 setting needs to catch kids attention and get them excited about learning content. It doesn’t need to be the highest quality amazing machine in the world. For that reason, instead of buying one $3,000 3D printer, we bought TEN $300 3D printers. Instead of having one top of the line machine that sits in a lab that students only see on special trips or in pictures, we now have 10 (actually it’s more like 30) affordable 3D printers in CMSD classrooms that students use every day.
For 3D printing in K-8, we use Tinkercad.com, a great free website that is perfect for beginners to start from scratch and maker great things. For a printer, we use Flash Forge Finders. These are fantastic little machines that are durable, reliable, easy to use and cost $299! The software to control the device is free and can be run off any computer. So for $300 and a computer most schools or teachers already have, students can start designing and demonstrating learning today and hold their products in their hands tomorrow.
For vinyl cutting, we use Silhouette Cameos. Not only can these machines cut through vinyl easily to create all of the same things you can do on a large Vinyl Cutter ( big
projects might just take a while), they can also cut through paper, leather, fabric and more! They are versatile and easy to use and the free software the machines use feels like an expensive design software that will teach students some basics of 2D design. A starter kit costs just $199 and comes with everything you need to start making today. Teacher’s days at the die-cut machine are over! This will allow you to digital fabricate labels, signage, stickers, magnets, iron ons for shirts, paper projects, it’s really a wonderful product.
These two machines and some consumable materials for them will cost teachers/schools less than $1000 and get students creating things with digital fabrication on an advanced level in a very short amount of time. While a full Fab Lab also includes laser cutters, CNC routers, electronic equipment and more, for a K-8 classroom, these two little guys are a great place to start.
3D printing is a wonderful way to get kids excited about learning and technology. Not only will learning how to 3d print something engage students with math and science in a new way, but it will also teach them a new 21st century tool that could be their ticket to a career in the STEM field.
3D modeling and printing can be introduced to students as young as 1st grade! The success of these projects depends on how familiar your students are with working on a computer, how strong their spatial reasoning skills are and how willing they are to struggle with a project and try to improve their work. The projects below are geared towards students in 3rd grade or higher. Many can be differentiated for the subject matter being covered in your class. Reach out to the MFL team to discuss details for your students.
The Mobile Fab Lab has a multiple 3D printers and projects that will be perfect for your students! During the winter months the MFL trailer does not go out to schools, instead the MFL team goes into the schools with a 3D printer!
The introductory lesson for 3D printing includes the MFL team bringing a 3D printer into your classroom for students to see in action! We use a free, awesome, website called Tinkercad.com for our designs. It is recommended that each teacher creates a classroom gmail account that the students can use to access tinkercad. We also recommend that all of the students log into Tinkercad, do the tutorials and play around a bit before the MFL team arrives.
When the MFL team is in your classroom, students can work in pairs or individually (this means most classes will need 12-20 computers) to design an intro project from the possibilities below. The time frame is an estimation and depends on how many students are in the class and their ability level.
NAME KEYCHAIN PROJECT
This simple project can be designed in less than one hour. Students can turn their name into a keychain, a name tag or a name stamp. More info and instructions here.
This is a great intro project for students who feel comfortable with Tinkercad. Each kid can design their own flatbot. Each project requires a very small amount of pre-work to be done in the classroom. This includes doing some possible readings about robots, monsters or dinosaurs, copying down existing designs and then doing some brainstorming and designing on their own. Students can work individually or in partners. This project can be done in 1-2 hours. More info and instructions here.
These types of projects are for students and teachers who have already completed an intro level project. These projects are similar to the intro projects in they can be completed in a relatively short amount of time and do not need a lot of iterative design. These projects can be designed in 2-3 class periods. Students can work in groups or individually to draw a rough draft and design their object in tinkercad in class without help from the MFL team. Then a MFL Team member will come to your class to check on the designs and make sure they are ready for printing. If the teacher has a 3D printer, then the kids will be taught how to prep the files and use the machine, if not, the printing will take place behind the scenes by the MFL team.
Below are some ideas, but we are always open to working directly with a teacher to come up with new projects!
You students can decide what type of characteristics they want to reward in your classroom community. They can they design their own trophies for the top citizen or multiple types of awards for a weekly prize.
Create your own Creature
Students can create their own dinosaur or mythical creature or make adaptations to an existing animal. Great for biology and living environment units!
Design your own Cookie Cutter
Students can use a great online tool: www.cookiecaster.com to design their own cookies cutters. You can leave it open ended for your students or have the cookie cutters revolve around a subject you are studying in class. We can print them out and then make cookies in your classroom with a toaster oven!
3D Printed CELLS!
Students will design their own plant, animal (OR ALIEN) cells in tinkercad. They can be printed out whole in one color, or as an extension, you could have students make it more like a puzzle where the parts of the cell are the pieces that need to be put back!
Students can design their own insect depending on their science level. An extension could include determine the habitat their alien creature lives in, what it eats, etc.
After studying a culture such as the Myans or Egyptians students can create their own artifacts to be printed out, or you could challenge them to create their own culture and make up new artifacts!
Here, students are given the globe model and have to determine where to put holes that represent areas of the earth where there is major volcanic activity. After we print out the globes we conduct the classic baking soda and vinegar experiment while plugging the hole in the top of the globe to see all the volcanoes erupt at once!
All of the objects in the photo to the right have the exact same volume. Challenge your students to create interesting shapes with the same volume. How does the surface area compare?
Design projects are more involved and are focused on the iterative design process. only students and teachers who have done an intro project can complete these projects. These types of projects most often are completed in 4 phases, Phases 1 and 2 happen in the classroom with the teacher, Phase 3 and 4 happen with the MFL team.
Phase 1: The class is given a problem or challenge. The students will need to do some research, draw sketches, present ideas, give and receive feedback before starting to design their object in Tinkercad.
Phase 2: No-tech prototype. Students create a prototype of their object using no-tech materials including paper, tape, cardboard, Styrofoam, playdoh, etc. An additional feedback cycle takes place.
Phase 3: Design in Tinkercad. Students create their designs in tinkercad and present their designs to MFL team for feedback and make an edits/improvements. A mini/low resolution version of the object is printed and students iterate (this step is not necessary for all projects).
Phase 4: Projects are printed. If there is a printer in the classroom the students will learn how to prep their projects and use the machine. If not, this will happen behind the scenes with the MFL team.
Final presentations on the object and the process the students went through to complete the work.
Below are some ideas for projects, but these are just some of our ideas. We would love to hear what you’re working on in class and try to come up with new projects!
Descriptions COMING SOON.
Sarah Prendergast Wallace, Fab Lab Coordinator
This is Sarah’s second year with Cleveland’s MC2STEM’s Mobile Fab Lab. She spent seven years teaching Math, Engineering and Art at the NYC iSchool in New York City before moving back to Ohio to join the Fab Team. After growing up in Northeast Ohio Sarah attended Kenyon College where she studied Mathematics and Religious Studies. Next, she moved to New York to attend graduate school at NYU focusing on Secondary Math Education. After attending NYU’s ITP EdCamp Sarah become passionate about maker education and began teaching MakerEd courses including Bridge Building, Paper Engineering, Pop-Up Book Design and Mathematical Art. As the Fab Lab Coordinator Sarah works with students, teachers, and schools to develop and implement fun Maker and Fab projects in the Mobile Fab Lab.
Email sarah: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fab Lab Interns:
We are very excited for the 2017-2018 school year! Next year we will be rolling out the MFL STEAM Fellowship Program! We are looking for approximately ten-fifteen K-8 CMSD teachers are excited about incorporating STEAM and Making into their classrooms! We are focusing on teachers who teach grades 3-8 in Math, Science or Art, but are open to all grades and subjects!
Teachers who complete the fellowship will earn one college credit AND earn a Mini Lab for their classroom! A mini lab includes a 3D printer, maker and fab software for a computer in your classroom and continuing support from the MFL.
If you are a principal, please forward this information to your teachers who you think would be a good fit!
We are offering three branches of the MFL STEAM Teachers Program:
This program is perfect for math or science grades 3-8. Students will learn about the design process through iterative work on bird houses. This is interdisciplinary and teachers are expected to do work on the project outside of the time the MFL is at their school.
Visit One: Students are exposed to the MFL and laser cutter and create cardboard pre-designed bird houses. Visit Two: students will create their own bird house design using cardboard construction and draw basic blueprints of their design. Visit Three: students will digitize their designs and create a prototype. Visit Four/Five: students will improve and iterate on their prototype before creating a wooden birdhouse for their community.
3D printing is a growing field that can be introduced to students as young as second grade! In this program, students will create many 3d printed objects depending on your curriculum. For example, a history teach might have their students design a replication of an ancient artifact from a culture they are studying, or design a building for a city they are creating. A Science teacher might have students design animal and plant cells that can be taken apart or a globe that shows the different layers of the Earth. A math teacher could have students create different polyhedra with the same volume or surface area. Or you can have students develop a new board game and design and 3d print pieces! The possibilities are endless! 3D Printing STEAM Teachers will work closely with the MFL team to develop projects for their students.
The MFL team is VERY excited to work with Art Teachers this year! We have art projects that incorporate technology and math to varying levels of intensity and are hoping that you have some great ideas too! Students might turn their tessellations made in Art class into digital designs and use the laser cutter to create magnets, or us the laser for print making!
Not ready to be a MFL STEAM Teacher? Or do you teach K -2?
If you’re not ready for the commitment to be a MFL STEAM Teacher or teach younger students, check out our MFL exposure activities. Exposure activities can be done with students of any age, k-12. These activities are designed to expose students to the technology of the MFL and to create something for their classroom or something to take home. These activities can be done in a short period of time, anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour and range in ability level and content connections. Click here to see activities by level.
Thank you for your interest in the Mobile Fab Lab Fellowship program. The application period is now closed. If you are interested in receiving information about the fellowship in the future, or if you would like information about scheduling an exposure activity please email Sarah Wallace at email@example.com
All applications must be completed by June 9th at 11:59 pm.
We are happy to share files! Below is a list of materials that we have made for activities this year. Let us know if you have any questions!
The Anti-Bullying Club at Clara Westropp School felt there was a need for students to submit anonymous notes about acts of bullying they witnessed or personal requests to talk to a teacher about bullying. After reaching out to the Mobile Fab Lab we were abel to come up with a press fit design and some anti-bullying posters that would look great on the box! The club built two large boxes that will be placed in public spaces in their school and they will check in on the submissions weekly!
Mr. Morris’ 3rd grade class at Charles Dickens School participated in an awesome in class FabLab activity this week! We discussed how the laser cutter works, what pressform sculptures are and about Dinosaur skeletons and models.
Below is a video of the laser cutting out the smaller dinosaur pieces:
After examining a one foot dinosaur sculpture, the students used it as a guide to work collaboratively to build a three food tall T-Rex! This larger dino was as big as some of the students!
This is a great example of an activity that is physically and spatially challenging for elementary aged students. They have to work collaboratively to determine which pieces fit together where and use the strength of two students to snap the pieces together! It also has instant gratification for students, at the end of the two-hour session the class had two large scale dinosaurs they could keep as class mascots!
This activity was adapted from Epilog Laser Dinosaur Model
The sixth graders at Orchard STEM School in Ohio City did an amazing job building wooden bird houses with the Mobile Fab Lab last week.
The pieces for the bird houses were designed using makercase.com and modifying the file to include a pitched roof, windows, door and a bird perch! The walls and the bottom of the bird house are press-fit, so they fit snuggly together without using any glue- and cut on the Epilog Laser in the Mobile Fab Lab.
The sixth graders of Ms. Pastura’s class got to learn about lasers and the laser cutter and see it in action before constructing their bird houses and painting them bright colors. The bird houses will be hung in the trees around the school for the community (of people, and birds) to enjoy!
Above is a photo of the Mobile Fab Lab trailer and the FabTruck (along with Ms. Wallace!)
More photos of the inside of the trailer, coming soon!
The seventh graders at Euclid Park Elementary in Cleveland did an AWESOME job creating new huts for their class hamster- Mr. Wiggles! Ms. Pittman-Scott, the middle school science teacher at Euclid Park, worked with the MFL to create this great learning experience for her students!
The students started by looking at existing hamster houses and discussing Mr. Wilggles’ behavior. Next, we worked together to come up with a list of parameters that their designs needed to follow. The students worked in groups of two or three to sketch out their designs before building them in Tinkercad.
We watched videos on how 3D printing works and the students had to take that into consideration for their designs. Each group designed a hamster house that was no bigger than an 8 inch cube and had a door as well as windows for Mr. Wiggles. Each hamster hut took between 9 and 14 hours to print and they turned out great! Mr. Wiggles seems to be enjoying his new huts!
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. They can connect to the content you’re covering in your classes, or act as a stand alone activity.
This is a perfect activity for younger students K-2! Students begin by talking about seasons and how they effect the leaves around us! This art and science lesson allows students to color leaves for all season and create a Laser Cut tree to glue their leaves to!
This can be done with students of any age PreK to seniors! They can decorate a piece of wood any way they want using markers and then we will laser cut it into pieces.
Students will learn about the Epilog Laser cutter as they see the letters cut out from wood! Next the kids can decorate the magnets with paint or markers or decoupage pictures of items that begin with that letter! Great for phonics!
This activity is great around the holidays but can be adapted to create other shapes as well! Students create a 3d stand up shape from laser cut pieces and can decorate them using glue and glitter!
GIK (Great Invention Kit) is a great way to introduce kids to a laser cutter and get them making things! These small cardboard pieces can be thought of as a different version of Legos. Students get to see a GIK Kit get laser cut then let their imaginations run wild as they create little mini inventions of their own and can take a GIK Kit home with them!
This activity can be done with students of any grade! After learning about a different culture students can decorate their own mask! This could also be done with the ‘design your own super hero’ activity!
Students can experiment with different wing and tail options to make their customized bird flyer. A great introduction to the laser and scientific method!
Students build their own mini rocket out of a straw, paper wings, tape and clay. After launching the rockets students get to experiment to try to get their rocket to go further! This activity can be done in an hour or can be part of up to a week long exploration into rockets!
In this exposure activity, students get to experiment with different weights and wheel sizes for their race cars. They can collect data to later analyze and determine how different variable effect the car. The MFL team has a large race track for the experiment!
This activity is also an intermediate design activity, see below.
This awesome cross-curricular project starts with students exploring the ancient mythology of the Sphinx. Next they get to create their own mythical creature by combining different animal parts. They then get to invent a name for their creature and write a myth or fable with their creation as the central character. Extension Lesson Plan
Paper circuits are a great way to get kids thinking about science and how electricity works! This workshops allows students to learn about circuits and make their own light up paper circuit with copper tape, and LED, a 3V battery and a binder clip! Can also be made into light up pop out cards!
Robot Keychains is a great little activity to get students excited about making and learning about cool technologies! Students learn about Laser cutting and practice fine motor skills as they create a little robot keychain of their own! The Robots can be customized for your school or event!
This activity is an introduction into 3D modeling and printing. Students use Tinkercad.com, a great free website, to tinker and design their own keychain with their name on it! We will bring a 3D printer to your classroom so students can see how they work and 3D print a keychain for every student in the class!
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 that should be done by a teacher who has some experience with the MFL.
Students can do a quick design to create their own glider template that we will laser cut and decorate. Kids can then compete to see which glider has the best flight path and if time permits, iterate on their design.
Students will experiment with different paper blades to determine which shape creates the most energy. This is a GREAT activity for any alternative energy or sustainability unit! The Wind Turbine activity can be expanded to include laser cutting – students can digitally design and fabricate their own blades!
In this art activity students will take a photo of their profile and use technology to laser cut their profile out! This can be a great activity to do around the holidays to give away as a gift!
This is a design activity. Students will use MakerCase to create a pressfit box then will design its purpose- it could be a cover for a tissue box, a piggy bank, or a secret keeper for them to record their dreams or a journal! Students can then decorate the box anyway they’d like!
In this activity each class will make one BIG make of the USA! Each student will be assigned 1 or 2 states and will have to become an expert on that state. They can write and or draw on the back of the wooden pieces facts like, the capital, state flower, largest industry, etc. Everyone in the class is engaged and learning and together they will know a LOT about the whole country.
Students will design and create their own marble maze using the laser cutter and mathematical thinking.
Students can design and create personal stickers for lockers, cell phones, or books. Or they can work together to create a logo for a project or school group or team. This machine can also be made to make t-shirts or large decals for walls or windows!
Students will think about silhouettes and shadows before designing their own lantern and creating it using the laser or paper cutter.
Students can personalize a wooden book cover. These small books can be used as a journal, or students can write and illustrate their own story and create a hardcover to match the story. Titles, images or photos can be engraved on the cover.
Stackforms are a great introduction to many different digital fabrication programs! Students will use Tinkercad, 123DMake and Corel Draw to laser cut plans to create a 3D animal or shape and have to find the volume of an irregular shape! This activity gets kids thinking abstractly while applying spacial reasoning and math!
Students will learn about tessellations and MC Escher before making their own tessellating shapes by hand. The activity can continue by digitizing the design and laser cutting tessellations.
Students learning about symmetry in math or weather in science can create interesting designs using an online program and use the laser to cut them out of paper or wood.
This is a great activity for a club or sports team or for individuals. Students can use our Vinyl Cutter to design their own t-shirt and make a template. Next they use the template and screen printing materials to create their own shirt!
Learn More Here
This is a great students in grades 5-8! Kids can learn a little about topography and how the maps work before designing and creating their own maps of a given area or making their own out of thin cardboard and painting to represent a real map!
Students can design there own image, or we can scan pictures to laser cut magnets! These are great for a classroom management tool! Students can create any design they like, or as a separate project teachers can have them design a logo for the class
Students can create a model of a plant and animal cell using 3d modeling or 2D design software that can be fabricated with the 3d printer or the laser cutter.
Can also make 3d printed cultural artifacts, tools, trophies, etc. Can be adapted for any subject area. (these projects take multiple visits to design and can take weeks to print)
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).
In this design project, students first experiment with existing racers by placing penny weights in the top slots of the car and with different wheels. They then get to create their own designs to 3d print and race.
This activity is great forany class that has a class pet! Students work together to decide on parameters for their design and digitally design their own Hamster House to be 3D printed! A great activity for grades 4-8!
This activity walks students through the process of a simple sketch, to a precision blue print drawing and allows them to design a bird house. Students will digitize their blue prints to create a cardboard prototype and go through the iterative process before creating a word bird house that can be painted and hung outside the school!
Art or Literature students can design a scene in multiple layers to be cut with the laser. This can be done with a specific culture, time period or book in mind.
This is a more involved activity that is best done over a few weeks with students grades 5-12. Board games are very fun and easy to play, but some are much more complex than we realize! This activity allows students to deconstruct their favorite game before designing their own! We can laser cut the game board and 3D print the pieces!
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.
8th grade students at Euclid Park did an amazing job a few weeks ago learning about the Ring of Fire and experimenting with Digital Design and 3D printing!
Before the Mobile Fab Lab arrived students reviewed what they had learned in Earth Science about volcanoes, plate techtonics and the Ring of Fire. They also brushed up on plotting longitude and latitude points by creating a map of the Ring of Fire.
Next students got a quick introduction to Digital Design with an overview of TinkerCad.com In groups of three to four the students modified a pre-made model of the globe by adding small holes in the locations where major volcanic activity occurs.
Students then got to visit the Mobile Fab Lab and see the 3D printers in action as the Fab Team worked to print all six globes in only two days! The globes were designed with a larger hole on the top of the globe where materials could be poured in but could be easily plugged with a cork stopper.
Finally, back in the classroom, the students conducted the traditional baking soda and vinegar experiment with their globes. We added in some dish soap for extra foam and food coloring for a bit of extra flair! The end result was a simulation of what the earth would look like if all of its major volcanoes erupted at once!
Overall, this was a great example of how maker ed and digital design and fabrication can be used to enhance and deepen a science learning experience for students!
These mini pumpkin puzzles were created with the laser cutter in the Mobile Fab Lab. Students had to put on their thinking caps to put together a puzzle that had no picture on it! After gluing the pieces of the puzzle together the students decorated their 3D pumpkins with glitter glue. The 3rd and 4th graders did a great job with this STEAM activity! We also visited a Pre-K room and loved seeing the littles ones express their creativity with makers on their pumpkins!