STEM in Schools

Makerspaces in CMSD schools

Do you have a makerspace in your school? Or maybe your school just received a grant to build one and you want to know what is next!

There are many different brands of makerspace technologies and equipment!  Below is a list of recommended equipment that the CMSD FabLab team has experience with and can therefore help your school based team learn how to use these technologies and integrate them into your classrooms!



Image result for fLASHfORGE PRINTER

Flash Forge Finder or Inventor $400-$800   These machines are GREAT for the classroom. They are inexpensive, easy to use, robust and resilient.  They have excellent quality given the price of the machine and are a perfect place to start your makerspace.  CMSD has MANY of these machines in classrooms across the district and can offer training, PD and maintenance.


Image result for makerbot 3d printer

Makerbot Sketch or Replicator $1500-3000 are amazing machines that are used in makerspaces and Fab Labs around the world. They offer higher quality and a larger  build plate than other machines and are very dependable .  CMSD has many of these machines in the district and can offer training, PD and Maintenance. 



Image result for ultimaker

Ultimaker $2500-$6000 are high quality machines that offer a few different sizes, included the Ultimaker5 which has a build area about twice as big as other machines.  These 3D printers look very cool, create high quality prints but can be a bit finicky.  CMSD has a few of these machines and can offere training, PD and Maintenance.


Image result for silhouette cameoSilhouette Cameo  $200-$300  This is a very powerful desktop vinyl cutter. The software for this machine, Silhouette Studio, is similar to a professional design software but is free!    Students can design logos for stickers, t-shirts, mugs, back packs and more!  This machine also cuts paper, fabric and more!  





CMSD Fab Lab can help with support on Epilog Laser Cutters ($15,000+)  or Glowforge($2500-$4000) 

Image result for epilog laser cutterImage result for glow forge



Maker Carts

TeacherGeek STEM, STEAM Maker Cart 2.0

These carts are full of amazing things! The run about $6,000






Image result for maker education cart lakeshore

This cart, from Lakeshore Learningis a bit smaller and costs $900.






Please contact us with questions about consumable material sourcing


Cleveland Cavaliers & Goodyear STEM Makeovers

Image result for cavs stem make over


Due to the extreme generosity of the Cleveland Cavaliers & Goodyear, CMSD has been given an overwhelming gift.   The district build the EPC DF+STEM Lab at our professional center that will host workshops for teachers to learn the basics of Digital Fabrication as well as serve as a Library of technology that teachers can borrow to use in their classrooms. Coverage of this event 

Now that the EPC DF+STEM Lab is complete, we have moved onto phase two of this partnership.  The Cleveland Cavaliers and Goodyear will be completing 5 STEM SPACE MAKEOVERS in CMSD K-8 schools over the next 3 years.  We are looking for 5 CMSD schools who will benefit from a $25,000 STEM SPACE makeover!


Cavs STEM Space Makeover Application 

In order to qualify for this makeover, please be sure your school:

  • is a CMSD K-8 School
  • has a space that is in need of a makeover that would be primarily used for STEM
    • Library / media space
    • computer lab
    • science lab / classroom
    • extra classroom
  • Has a team of 3-10 teachers who would take on the role of Lead STEM teacher and attend workshops and training sessions.
  • Can work with a construction team to have access to your building for approximately one month of work time, during which the space can not be used by teachers or students.
  • Is not on the list of schools being considered for closure nor has it been constructed in the past five years.



Any questions? Please contact

Mobile Fab Lab Visits

Are you interested in the Mobile Fab Lab visiting your School? 


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Mobile Fab Lab is a part of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.   If you are a teacher or administrator at a CMSD school, the MFL can visit your school and engage your students in Digital Fabrication!

There are a few ways you can request the MFL to visit your school :

  1. Apply for the MFL Fellowship, this is a year long program that continues as long as you teach for the district.  The MFL will visit your school for your students to complete a project an teachers will receive training on how to do Digital Fabrication in their own classrooms with a 3D printer and or vinyl cutter!   This program is only open to CMSD teachers who teach grades 3-8.   Only 10 teachers are chosen per year.
  2. Request the MFL to visit for one day . The MFL will visit your school for approximately 4 hours during a school day, engaging up to 100 students in exposure digital fabrication projects.  These visits are meant to to introduce students to DF and STEM projects, and are designed for students in grades K-8.

Please note, the MFL schedule fills up quickly. We will try to accommodate all requests. Preference is given to those teachers who attend workshops at the EPC DF+STEM Lab . 

Use of the MFL is free for all CMSD schools and students.

Due to limited resources, time and personnel, the MFL is not visiting schools, community partners or other groups at this time. 



  • It is the main contact person’s responsibility to clear this plan with the Principal of the school (or site supervisor) to ensure that the plan is feasible and that the logistics are appropriate and can be met. 
  • It is assumed that all children participating in the MFL have photo released forms on file with CMSD. If any students do NOT have this form completed, it is the school’s responsibility to let the MFL team know and /or indicate this with a paper bracelet. 
  • Any students with health issues, particularly, respiratory issues and or allergies should have necessary medicines on hand if an emergency should occur. 
  • While the MFL team will try their best to accommodate all students regardless of ability, due to physical restraints this might not be possible. 
  • The materials and machines on the MFL can be dangerous therefore safety measures are put in place.  If students do NOT adhere to these measures, or if their behavior is causing a danger to themselves or others they will be asked to leave the MFL and not participate in the activity. 
  • Use of the MFL and all activities are FREE for any CMSD school and students. These materials are NOT for district employees 
  • The MFL is owned and insured by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District



Girls in STEM

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!





  • All students should have access to and can be successful with FAB 
  • All teachers, no matter subject or grade,  can incorporate FAB into their curriculum 
  • Fab projects should be rigorous and rooted                                                                           in content standards
  • Maker and Fab projects can be used as formative and cumulative assessments and should be graded accordingly 



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:,,,

Frugal Fab

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.  


Image result for flash forge finder

For 3D printing in K-8, we use, a great free website that is perfect for beginners to start from scratch and maker great things.  For a printer, we use Flash Forge FindersThese 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

Image result for silhouette cameo

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.


Happy Making!

Fellowship Resources


MONTHLY MFL Machine Check in Form

Focus Project Planning 

Spring Project Planning

Intro to 3D Fellows Slides

Fellowship Agreement 19-20

Intro to Fellowship Google Slides

Fellows Info 18-19

Spring Project Planning

Project Rubric

3D Printing Intro PP

Mobile Fab Lab Machine Check Out Info

Year 1 Final Reflection Specifications

MONTHLY MFL Machine Check in Form

October 1st Meet Up Slides- 3D PRINTING PROJECT IDEAS

3D Printing Project Planning


3D printing with the Mobile Fab Lab


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!

3d Printing Presentation      Intro Instructions

3D Printing Project Ideas


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 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.


Image result for 3d printed name keychain  Image result for 3d printed name keychain  Image result for 3d printed name keychain

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.


Intermediate Projects

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!

Citizen Trophy


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: 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.


Ancient Artifacts

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!

Volcanic Globe


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!


Comparing Volume

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?


3D Design Projects


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.



Meet the Fab Team



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.

Sarah’s MTT talk on Paper Engineering 

Email sarah:


Fab Lab Interns:


coming soon!

MFL STEAM Fellowship Program

Fellows Info

MFL STEAM Fellowship

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:


Engineering Birdhouses with the Design Process 

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.

Digital Design and 3d Printing 

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!



  • All applicants must be:
    • a CMSD teacher
    • able to coordinate two to five Mobile Fab Lab (MFL) visits in the fall of 2017
    • willing to work with the MFL team
    • able to attend one PD session over the summer (June 28th, July 24th or August 7th)
    • able a monthly meet up with the cohort
  • Use of the MFL is free to all CMSD schools.  Some material costs apply for specific projects.
  • Teachers must complete the fellowship to earn college credit and get a Mini Fab Lab installed in their classroom.


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.


Questions?  Please Email the MFL coordinator- Sarah Wallace at 


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


All applications must be completed by June 9th at 11:59 pm.

Anti-Bullying Boxes

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

Building Community Birdhouses

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 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!