An engineering lab for middle schoolers is known as the “Fab Lab” built with the intent of fostering teamwork, experimentation, inquiry and hands on experience in learning from STEM courses.
At Valley Middle School in Apple Valley, eighth grader Jarett Huard handled syringes filled with water that were the hydraulic system for a mechanical arm. He had build the mechanical arm out of wood, cardboard, plastic and hot glue.
His goal was to have the arm pick up and move a small disc. He made the robotic tool with a three dimensional printer, laser etcher, and vinyl cutter.
“It’s my favorite class,” Huard said. “If I could do it all day, I would.”
This class is different from shop classes of previous generations, and even has a marked difference from “tech-ed” classes that have been attended by older siblings. This is a fabrication lab that allows middle school students to learn advanced manufacturing skills through use of computers and precision tools.