IU's Fab Lab to spend week at Pfaff

Fab Lab allows students to explore things like building, creating, designing and coding that are directly tied to their curriculum.
Posted on 11/18/2019
Pfaff students use equipment from the IU's Fab Lab to explore things like building, creating, designing and coding that are directly tied to their curriculumBy Gary Weckselblatt

The Bucks County Intermediate Unit’s Fab Lab, designed to inspire and encourage students to pursue careers in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) fields, is spending the week at Pfaff Elementary School.

The lab is a transit van that transports several carts full of equipment such as 3D printers, a laser engraver, CNC router, vinyl cutter, and a variety of robotics equipment. It also has laptop computers with specialized software programs to control and interact with the equipment.
That’s what fourth-graders were working on Monday, under the direction of IU Mobile Fab Lab Program Coordinator Megan Boletta and Peach Draper, math and science instructional coach.

Pfaff’s third- and fifth-graders will have the opportunity to explore the cutting-edge equipment this week.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Pfaff students to explore things like building, creating, designing and coding that are directly tied to their curriculum,” said Zach Garger, K-12 instructional coach and math and science content specialist. “This experience is helping to reinforce things they are working on in their science classrooms in a unique way, by using machinery just like people in today’s workforce.”

Mr. Garger commended Mrs. Draper for her “go get it attitude” in helping bring the Fab Lab to Pfaff. “Once the IU offered it to schools, the schedule filled up very quickly. She signed up for it immediately.”

This interactive, innovative program gets students thinking, creating, discussing, and sharing in ways that educationally interacts with this equipment. The students will be challenged with projects that stimulate and encourage learning about digital fabrication and computer science through exploration and experience.

“Having a van that can move between schools allows the districts to bring cutting-edge, modern equipment directly to the students and their teachers,” said Dr. Mark Hoffman, Executive Director of the Bucks IU. “We’re really excited about the educational learning potential of this program.”

The mobile Fab Lab is one of only 50 in the United States.

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or gweckselblatt@qcsd.org.
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