The Howard Connect Academy Invention Collaboratory is in a public 6-8 grade school in Chattanooga, TN, an urban setting on the southside of Chattanooga, TN. We are in our first year of school (2019) and working innitially with sixth grade only. Following an interdisciplinary STEM model, the Invention Collaboratory gives students and community members open access to a digital fabrication technology and materials preparation tools that allow participants to produce functional products that require advanced manufacturing tools, machining, and electronic access. Our lab curriculum focuses on the tools and skills necessary for solving real world problems, creating design solutions that are developed and digitally fabricated through the collaborative design thinking and engineering design processes. We want to harness the interests of students and teachers to design projects that align with content standards and push each of us to think critically while “making” to both invent and improve. The lab includes state of the art digital fabrication equipment like microcontrollers, robotics kits, 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, and C & C routers, as well as more traditional fabrication tools for woodworking, electronics, and vinyl printing or transfer. Students, families, and community members learn design thinking techniques and various digital fabrication software to examine complex problems and prototype solutions for problems encountered or uncovered in our school, community and world.
This is the general thread for discussing the lab; the thread is also visible on its page at https://www.fablabs.io/labs/hcainventioncollaboratory