The Howard Connect Academy Invention Collaboratory is in a new, public 6-8 grade school in an urban area on the southside of Chattanooga, TN. We are funded through grants awarded by the Benwood Foundation and TN Valley Robotics. Our lab curriculum focuses on the tools and skills necessary for solving real world problems through design solutions 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 concepts, and push each of us to think critically while “making” to both invent and improve. The Invention Collaboratory is an integral part of the Howard Connect Academy Interdisciplinary Framework, providing opportunities for every student to engage frequently and purposefully. The lab is also open to our school community at large during “open hours” two afternoons each week. The lab includes state of the art digital fabrication equipment like microcontrollers, robotics kits, 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl printer/plotter/cutters, and CNC routers, as well as more traditional fabrication tools for woodworking, sewing, and a heat press. 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/howardconnectacademyinventioncollaboratory