Category Archives: Design Thinking

Fab Lab This Month

Fab Lab Events For July

NOVA Makers

NOVA Makers is a special program at the NOVA Fab Lab in which members can utilize advanced fabrication equipment to work on personal and class projects.

Members have access to 3D printers, laser cutters and engravers, a UV flatbed printer, a large format printer/cutter, and a plastic thermoforming center (soldering stations and sewing machines certifications will be available in Fall 2022). Safety and machine trainings are provided along with the issuance of digital micro-credentials as certifications are completed.

Membership is initiated upon completion of a Safety & Orientation session and is ONLY open to high school students, NOVA students, and NOVA faculty/staff. More details on this program can be found in the Membership Handbook.

Register for sessions at fablab.novastem.us/Sign-up

Summer Schedule: June 28 through August 4

Safety & Orientation

Tuesdays | 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Thursdays |9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Machine Certification

Tuesdays | 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Thursdays |11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Member Open Labs

Tuesdays | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Wednesdays | 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Thursdays | 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Makers By Design NSF Grant

3D printing in progress, a real hand is touching a 3D printed-hand

Supporting Instructors to Embed Design Thinking in Digital Fabrication Courses

Makers By Design (MBD) will strengthen the engineering technology pathways by providing professional learning for K-12 teachers, running digital fabrication summer camps, and hosting design challenges. The project is aligned with NSF and aims to broaden participation in STEM through community outreach and engagement. Makers By Design seeks to create a community of practice among engineering educators involved in community-based makerspaces at public libraries, private organizations, public school systems, colleges, and universities.

Outcomes:

Each Year, the MBD grant provides 5 days of professional learning focused on Design Thinking for 12 educators, digital fabrication summer camps for 96 middle and high school students, bi-annual design challenges for secondary and post-secondary students, and a digital lesson plan repository focused on design thinking and digital fabrication.

MBD Grant Flip Book


Design Thinking Fellowship:

NOVA will be recruiting for their second cohort of Design Thinking Fellows later this year. This NSF-sponsored program is open to college faculty, middle and high school teachers, and informal STEM learning professionals.

Complex problems require innovative and creative solutions. Design Thinking is the key to challenging assumptions and approaching problem solving in a collaborative, interdisciplinary, and non-linear way.

During this 9-month fellowship, participants will learn how to integrate design thinking into their pedagogy through a professional learning institute, teach during a 1-week summer camp, and lead their classes through a design challenge. Fellows will receive a stipend of $2,200 for participation.

Applications will be available in late Fall 2023. Contact systemic@nvcc.edu with any additional questions.

You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter, The IET Interface, at http://newsletter.novastem.us to keep up with application information and other fellowship opportunities at NOVA.


Makers By Design Grant Abstract:

Supporting Instructors to Embed Design Thinking in Digital Fabrication Courses Award Abstract #2055324

Manufacturing and engineering industries face a looming gap in skilled workers, with an estimated 2.4M positions projected to go unfilled by 2025. This project aims to help fill this gap by improving the preparation of the needed technical workforce. To do so, it will establish a Professional Learning program in design thinking pedagogy for secondary and postsecondary educators. The 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 post-secondary educators who will teach more than 3,000 K-12 and undergraduate students in the northern Virginia region. These students will have a 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: (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 the 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.

 

Fab Lab Design Challenge

 

Congratulations to our NOVA Fab Lab Design Challenge Winners for Spring 2022!

The NOVA Fab Lab held an in-person awards ceremony on Thursday, June 16th to recognize the Spring 2022 Design Challenge winners. As the ceremony’s highlight, students were able to see their designs realized as the actual fabricated products were revealed to them for the first time, alongside family members and friends. Participants also received their prizes, networked with judges and sponsors, and toured NOVA’s state-of-the-art Fab Lab after the event. This year’s challenge was for middle school, high school, or college students to design or refine a product to improve any area of their school. Sponsors for the Design Challenge were BAE Systems, Micron, Amtek Company, Digital Realty, and Dewberry Engineering.

Design Thinking and creative solutions to common challenges are a prominent feature in STEM education and the technology workforce, making the Design Challenge a touchstone for talented young minds to generate ideas in an equitable way. The NOVA Fab Lab’s mission is to decrease the growing skills gap in the Digital Fabrication arena by providing students a more holistic fabrication experience, including access to the most advanced processes, training in 3D Modeling and design, and a foundation in the principles of Design Thinking and creative problem solving.

With a goal of broadening participation and meeting students where they are at, NOVA allowed student entries in any format, including hand-drawn submissions. This was done to re-focus the goal away from simply displaying digital proficiency and more toward ‘solving a problem’ in their community. “One of the Fab Lab missions is to empower students to think and fabricate in unison and help them unlock their potential to recognize and solve complex problems” said Richard Sewell, NOVA’s Fab Lab Coordinator.

Prior to the final submissions, the NOVA Fab Lab provided 16 free Dominating Our Design Challenge prep sessions in February and March. The first, entitled Using Design Thinking, provided a process for moving an idea to a functional solution. The second, Learning the Tools,helped participants learn the strengths and weaknesses for rapid prototyping on four common fabrication technologies: laser cutting, 3D Printing, CNC Routing, and plastic thermoforming. Dominating Our Design Challenge sessions were utilized by 141 participants in 4 locations: Prince William Public Libraries, Arlington Tech, SERVE Family Shelter, the NOVA Fab Lab, and virtually.

After the design submission deadline of April 17, the Fab Lab received 62 total entries, comprised of 123 participants. Once submitted, participants were judged based upon their digital or hand-drawn designs and written descriptions. The top three then had their winning designs fabricated by our Fab Lab team using a CNC router, woodshop equipment and hand tools as well as a Stratasys F370 3D printer and received their fabricated products at the ceremony.

The 1st place award was won by a two-person team consisting of Eli Reeder and Logan Pennington from The Nokesville School for their product titled, iDesk, which is a desk with an iPad screen and charger built-in. The iDesk solves the problem of having to charge laptops and is purposed so that teachers can send assignments directly to the desk tablet. Eli and Logan won the top prize of $500 plus an Ender-3 S1 3D printer, certificate plaques, and their fabricated product.

NOVA’s own Carmen Chica earned 2nd place with her All In Chair design, a desk with a wide backplate chair composed of two adjustable arms to create right-handed and left-handed usage, so all students feel included. Carmen was awarded $300, a 3D printer, a certificate plaque, and her fabricated product.

The 3rd place award went to Harris Lechtman, from George C. Marshall High School for his Study Buddy Organizer, which offers a solution to limited desk space through an attachment that holds a phone, a drink, pencil slots and other sections for desk items. Harris won $100 plus the 3D printer, plaque, and his fabricated product.

Fab Lab Coordinator Lance Lacey reflected on the payoff of a design coming to realization: “I always enjoy seeing the students expressions as they interact with the physical prototype of their idea for the first time. Before it was an idea and a sketch, but then they see an actual functioning product!”

There were also three honorable mention designs: Eva Torrico from Thomas Jefferson Middle School submitted a Terretami Fork, which combines a spoon, fork, knife, straw, chopsticks, and a milk puncturer all into one reusable utensil.

Tyler Freeman, Connor Freeman, and Lucas Morton from MOT Charter High Schooldesigned a Recyclable Lunch Tray with biodegradable and recyclable material that can be vacuum-formed to allow for bulk-production.

Devin Gerdes, from NOVA, was recognized for Print Catcher, which is a customized basket that prevents sheets from touching the ground once they have been printed.

The Design Challenge is made less of a challenge for NOVA SySTEMic to organize thanks to the generous support of our sponsors: BAE Systems (special thanks to David Sargent and Hannah Wilson), Micron (Zuzana Steen and Robert Simmons), Amtek Company (Alex Baddock), Digital Realty, and Dewberry Engineering (Arlene Evans and Barry Dewberry–Arlene is a NOVA Alumna!)

Industry representatives also served as Design Challenge Judges: from BAE, Jim Sturim (a Project Engineer) and Elly Taylor (a Test Technician). From Digital Realty, Karen Petersburg (a Design Manager), and from Dewberry Engineering, Carmen Bere (a Project Engineer).

The Design Challenge also received stellar support from NOVA, including Dr. Chad Knights, VP of IET and College Computing; IET Dean Paula Ford, Dean of Math, Science, and Engineering; Dr. Abe Eftekari, NOVA SySTEMic Program Manager; Aleksander Marthinussen and Kelly Persons from the NOVA Foundation. NOVA Faculty Nina Lord and Michael Spiller also brought their classes over to the Fab Lab to participate.

Additional recognition and thanks to Kristen Burnham from Prince William Public Libraries, Michelle Van Lare from Arlington Tech, Brittany Greer from Rosie Riveters and Amrata Sahasrabudhe from SERVE Family Shelter.

Finally, special recognition goes to the NOVA Fab Lab team including Lance Lacey, Richard Sewell, Brendan Murphy, Kai Le and Valerie Bierhuizen, who developed, strategized and implemented Design Challenge procedures for months, as well as providing effective outreach to get all participants and sponsors involved.

NOVA SySTEMic Coordinator Brendan Murphy reflected on the focus of student creativity: “We built the challenge to be intentionally open-ended to allow for a wide variety of solutions. It’s truly exciting and inspiring to see the creative ideas that students design.”

First place winners Eli Reeder and Logan Pennington had some sage advice for aspiring future Design Challenge participants; “No idea is a bad idea,” said Eli. “Don’t stress out, because you have a lot of time to do it. You spend most of your time brainstorming. Keep it simple,” Logan added. “If you have a good idea already, don’t stress yourself trying to improve it, just tweak the small things.”

The inaugural Design Challenge Ceremony in July 2021 began the process of bringing back in-person events to the Fab Lab. Going forward, the challenge will be held twice-a-year, in both the fall and spring semesters and is open to middle school, high school and college students.

More information about the Fall Design Challenge will be available here and on the NOVA Fab Lab page by the end of the summer.

#WeDoSTEM #DesignThinking

Design Thinking Fellowship at the Fab Lab

Saturday May 7th marked the last day of professional learning for the educators in the Design Thinking Fellowship! Teams had worked over the semester to design a LEGO storage solution for a user with specific needs, and this was their chance to prototype and test their ideas.

After all this preparation, educators built small scale “rough prototypes” of their designs using cardboard, hot glue, and common crafting materials. Fellows then gathered testing data from their prototypes before presenting their work and explaining their thinking to their peers.

Next, fellows will be practicing teaching what they learned during SySTEMic’s digital fabrication summer camps. Working in groups of three, educators will deliver modified version of the LEGO challenge they just completed to elementary and middle school students across the region.

Fellow Dahlia Henry-Tett, NOVA faculty, reflected on the experience:

“We have to be in the place of a student more frequently. We sometimes forget what it fills like to start, to try things in a different way. Being here as an instructor, as a teacher, allows me to feel like a student again, to see the struggles that they’re going through, trying to create things. It allows me to be better as a professional. Also the skills I’m learning for Design Thinking will carry into my classroom and allow me to use a different method that will help these students think differently about how to approach things.”

Design Thinking Fellowship For Educators

Our first cohort of NOVA Design Thinking Fellows (high school teachers, informal STEM learning professionals and college faculty) is training with us at the NOVA Fab Lab to bring #DesignThinking to their students.

Applications for the second cohort of 12 Design Thinking Fellows will be available in the Fall. Sign Up for our Newsletter and follow us on Twitter for updates.

Complex problems require innovative and creative solutions. Design Thinking is the key to challenging assumptions and approaching problem solving in a collaborative, interdisciplinary and non-linear way.

Design Thinking Fellow Activities:

  • Complete the Professional Learning (PL) Institute at NOVA’s Fab Lab, focused on digital fabrication and design thinking.
  • Practice teaching PL topics at a 1-week summer camp
  • Submit an entry to the bi-annual Fab Lab Design Challenge
  • Create and implement PL classroom activities

In all, Design Thinking Fellows complete 60 hours of professional development and receive a $2200 stipend.

This fellowship is funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant #2055324 entitled Supporting Instructors to Embed Design Thinking in Digital Fabrication Courses

STEM Coordinator Brendan Murphy Wins Awards

It’s been a big month for NOVA SySTEMic’s Annandale STEM Coordinator Brendan Murphy!

First, Brendan was awarded the Emerging Leader Award at the 2022 International Technology and Engineering Education Association (ITEEA) conference in Orlando, FL on March 9-12.

The Emerging Leader Award is presented in recognition of educators who have demonstrated a high level of competence, dedication, commitment, and professional activity in the field of technology and engineering education.

Brendan served ITEEA’s Council for STEM Leadership as the membership chairperson, presented at the conference on the application of Design Thinking and Digital Fabrication, and hosted a Networking and Mentoring workshop to support young professionals foster relationships with mentors in the field.

Secondly, at the same event, he was awarded with the Burke Supervision and Shared Leadership Scholarship, which is presented to practicing leaders in the technology and engineering profession with supervisory responsibilities and helps support the advancement of technology and engineering researched-based practices at major professional development conferences.

Thirdly, Brendan was selected as a Fellow for the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) 2022 NextLevel Postsecondary CTE Leadership Program, (sponsored by ECMC Foundation). The NextLevel Fellowship provides professional and career growth opportunities to the next generation of leaders in postsecondary CTE programs through this nationally-recognized program that is engaging, individualized, and memorable. Seventeen fellows were selected for the 2022-2023 cohort. See Brendan’s ACTE bio here

Brendan reflected on his awards: “It’s an honor to be recognized by such distinguished technology and engineering professionals. I’m excited to have the opportunity to continue to advance our profession and impact the lives of students and educators locally, nationally, and internationally.”

Congratulations, Brendan! We’re glad you are on our team.

#WeDoSTEM #InDemandTech #ITEEA #ACTE

 

Fab Lab Activities in December

 

Save the Date for December Tours and Workshops!

Dominating our Design Challenge Series
College students, high school and middle school students from all academic disciplines and backgrounds are encouraged to enter the Fab Lab Design Challenge that will be released in February 2022.  The Challenge is sponsored by our industry partner, BAE Systems, and all sessions are offered free of charge.  Although the challenge’s mission is to inspire innovation in fabrication, we want those with great ideas to participate, regardless if they have little to no experience on these topics.  To support applicants, we are offering the following prep session:

Dominating our Design Challenge: Using Design Thinking
This virtual session will explain the five steps of Design Thinking to provide participants with a repeatable process for moving an idea to a functioning solution. The session will include examples of Design Thinking best practices, virtual team exercises in brainstorming, and a reference guide.  Free and virtual format via Zoom.  Two session choices:
Mon 11/29: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)
Thurs 12/9: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)

Dominating our Design Challenge: Learning the Tools
Whether it is turning a digital design into a 2D, 2.5D or a 3D model, or building a physical model from scratch, this in-person session will focus on four common fabrication technologies (laser cutting, additive manufacturing-3D printing, CNC routing, & plastic thermoforming) that can be used to bring your idea into physical space.  This session focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of each of these different processes and how they can be used in rapid prototyping.  Participants will be able to see equipment demonstrations of how each process works.  Free and in-person at the NOVA Fab Lab (Manassas campus).
Mon, 12/6: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)
Thurs 12/16: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)


Tours
NOVA Fab Lab guided in-person tours will be provided for participants to view the spaces and equipment in the Makerspace, Woodshop, and college Mechatronics labs. Open to the public, no registration required .
Sat, 12/4: 10am-2pm (tours start every half hour)
Location: NOVA Manassas Campus, Trailside building, first flr
Address: 10500 Battleview Parkway, Manassas, VA 20109


Mini-Workshop Laser Cutting: Holiday Decoration 

The Lab will be open to the public for a mini-workshop where participants can create a personalized Laser Cut Holiday Decoration. Participants can come and go at any time. The workshop is FREE, no registration required.
Sat, 12/4: 10am-2pm (tours start every half hour)
Location:
NOVA Manassas Campus, Trailside building, first flr
Address:
10500 Battleview Parkway, Manassas, VA 20109


Find more information at www.nvcc.edu/systemic/fablab.html

Design Thinking Fellowship

NOVA is recruiting for the first cohort of Design Thinking Fellows! This NSF-sponsored program is open to college faculty, middle and high school teachers, and informal STEM learning professionals. During this 9-month fellowship, participants will learn how to integrate design thinking into their pedagogy through a professional learning institute, teaching during a 1-week summer camp, and leading their classes through a design challenge. Fellows will receive a stipend of $2,200 for participation.   

Please register here to be updated about the session and application process.  

Feel free to contact systemic@nvcc.edu with any additional questions!  

Fab Lab Activities in November

Sign Up For Our November Workshops!

Sewing Machine 101
Do you want to learn how to use a sewing machine? We can teach you how! Bring your sewing machine or learn on one of ours. In this workshop, we will show you how to use a sewing machine from winding a bobbin, to threading your machine, to sewing your first project – a drawstring bag. You’ll leave feeling confident that you can sew on your own!
Mon 11/15: 6:00-8:30 pm
Click HERE for more info and to register.


STEMinars

Dominating our Design Challenge Series
College students, high school and middle school students from all academic disciplines and backgrounds are encouraged to enter the Fab Lab Design Challenge that will be released in February 2022.  The Challenge is sponsored by our industry partner, BAE Systems, and all sessions are offered free of charge.  Although the challenge’s mission is to inspire innovation in fabrication, we want those with great ideas to participate, regardless if they have little to no experience on these topics.  To support applicants, we are offering the following prep session:

Dominating our Design Challenge: Using Design Thinking
This virtual session will explain the five steps of Design Thinking to provide participants with a repeatable process for moving an idea to a functioning solution. The session will include examples of Design Thinking best practices, virtual team exercises in brainstorming, and a reference guide.  Free and virtual format via Zoom.  Two session choices:
Mon 11/29: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)
Thurs 12/9: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)

Dominating our Design Challenge: Learning the Tools
Whether it is turning a digital design into a 2D, 2.5D or a 3D model, or building a physical model from scratch, this in-person session will focus on four common fabrication technologies (laser cutting, additive manufacturing-3D printing, CNC routing, & plastic thermoforming) that can be used to bring your idea into physical space.  This session focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of each of these different processes and how they can be used in rapid prototyping.  Participants will be able to see equipment demonstrations of how each process works.  Free and in-person at the NOVA Fab Lab (Manassas campus).
Mon, 12/6: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)
Thurs 12/16: 6-8pm (Click HERE for more info)


NOVA Makers
NOVA Makers is a program at the NOVA 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. Currently the technologies available for projects are additive manufacturing (3D printing), laser cutting/engraving, and hand tools.  A NOVA Fab Lab membership, a safety and orientation training, and machine specific certifications are provided and required as part of this program.  Membership is open to NOVA college students, faculty & staff, and high school students.  Find more information at www.nvcc.edu/systemic/fablab.html