Fab Lab Activities in October

NOVA Makers 

NOVA Makers is a new program at the Fab Lab in which members can use the lab to work on personal projects, participate in regional/national design challenges, and/or gain more skills in a Maker community setting.  Membership is open to NOVA college students, faculty & staff, and high school students.  Register at http://fablab.novastem.us/Sign-up 

Middle School Maker Club 

Starting Saturday, October 16th, middle school students will be able to participate in a Maker Club at the NOVA Fab Lab. The use of fabrication equipment (such as 3D printers, laser cutters, plastic thermoforming machines, etc.) in conjunction with other technologies will allow for integrative making experiences. Register at http://fablab.novastem.us/Sign-up    

Bristlebots & Book Read: This is What An Engineer Looks Like 

On Saturday, October 9th from 10:30am to 12:00pm, young children will be able to build and test a motorized bristlebot, read and hear from the author of This Is What An Engineer Looks Like, and learn about STEAM careers and engineering.  The 17-year-old author and illustrator, Ayonnah Tinsley, will be participating via live stream to read and discuss her book.  Ayonnah is a Congressional Award Gold Medal recipient for her extensive volunteer efforts and STEAM awareness activities.  Her book educates young students on STEAM careers with an emphasis on encouraging women and minorities to enter STEAM fields.  Participants will receive a copy of the book and be able to take home their bristlebot.

After the session, an optional tour of the Fabrication Lab will be available.  Open to children in kindergarten through 4th grades. Cost is $45 per child or free for children of NOVA Students.  Open to the public. Pre-registration is required at http://fablab.novastem.us/Sign-up.   

 3D Printing Challenge – Tiny House Winner! 

Congratulations to Daniel Moone for his winning design of a 3D Printed Tiny House!  This challenge was open to all participants in four of our 3D Printing Fabrication Camps this summer.  Campers had to meet certain specifications while using CAD software to design their scaled models.  Each design was then fabricated using additive manufacturing (Stratasys F123 series 3D printers) and judged based upon the physical prototype.  Daniel received our top prize of an in-person tour of the Fab Lab, a Parallax Scribbler 3 Robot kit, and his fabricated tiny house.      

Grant News: NOVA awarded NSF ATE Grant Award – Makers By Design

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded NOVA a three-year grant, set to begin in September 2021, to establish a Professional Learning program in design thinking pedagogy for secondary and postsecondary educators. Makers By Design (MBD) as we call it, is officially titledSupporting Instructors to Embed Design Thinking in Digital Fabrication Courses.

Makers By Design Overview:

> Manufacturing and engineering technologies industries are facing a looming skills gap.

> Employers identify increasing need for soft skills (critical and design thinking, problem solving and communication) as manufacturing transitions to high-tech.

> There is a need to align engineering and engineering technology with industry defined technical and soft skills.

> MBD is a professional learning (PL) program for secondary and postsecondary educators focused on developing design thinking pedagogy through digital fabrication (e.g. 3D printing, laser engraving, CNC) techniques.

> Aligned with NSF includes broadening participation in STEM for underrepresented minorities.

> MBD will foster a community of practice between teachers, faculty, makerspace educators and industry.

The grant curriculum will focus on design thinking projects that involve digital fabrication techniques, including 3D printing, laser engraving, and Computer Numerical Control milling. The Professional Learning program is expected to improve the educator’ teaching practices and enable them to update existing curricula and lesson plans to better align with industry relevant skills and techniques. The project also intends to create a community of practice around design thinking in digital fabrication that will build a beneficial network among secondary teachers, community college faculty, makerspace educators, and regional employers. It is expected that the project will support 36 secondary and postsecondary educators who will teach more than 3,000 K-12 and undergraduate students in the northern Virginia region. These students will have greater interest in and be better prepared for technical careers in manufacturing and engineering.

The overarching goal of the project is to use Professional Learning to move digital fabrication instruction beyond the reproduction of simple objects. Instead, the project will train educators to use pedagogy and cognitive strategies to embed design thinking into their digital fabrication lessons and courses. As a result, students will learn to use design thinking to build complex, useful objects.

The project’s specific aims include to: (1) create a professional learning institute; (2) host digital fabrication summer camps at NOVA and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington; (3) host a semiannual design and digital fabrication challenge; and (4) establish an online resource library of projects and lesson plans created and refined by educators in the community of practice. The project is expected to advance: understanding of the pedagogies that help to develop student interest in manufacturing and engineering; the capacity for Professional Learning to facilitate integration of design thinking into classrooms and makerspaces; and the extent to which a capstone design challenge may foster sustainable change in instructional practices. This project is funded by the Advanced Technological Education program that focuses on the education of technicians for the advanced-technology fields that drive the nation’s economy.

The NOVA Fab Lab has a Makerspace utilized by many NOVA programs and the community as well as a new Makers Program for college students coming up this fall

Go to http://fablab.novastem.us/Sign-up for current Fab Lab program/event registration and check out the NOVA Fab Lab Page on our website.

Outside Resources

Computer Science Instructional Resources & Professional Learning

In partnership with Prince William County Schools (PWCS), NOVA SySTEMic developed instructional resources that align with the 6th Grade Computer Science Standards of Learning.  Funding for this project was provided by the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) Advancing Computer Science Education grant that was awarded to PWCS.  Additionally, professional learning sessions were offered to educators by NOVA SySTEMic staff to introduce and guide educators through the created activities.  The resources are available to all educators on the #GoOpenVA site at  https://goopenva.org/courseware/lesson/4078/overview .