The mobile Fab Lab debuted at Remake Learning Days in May of 2017. The lab was featured as part of special events that week. Each student who visited the Fab Lab made a product that required them to utilize problem-solving and higher-order thinking skills related to the math and science standards. Project examples include a laser-engraved box, tool box, vinyl stickers, and wooden name tags.
It started with a simple idea. Create a mobile learning environment for students to engage in computer science, digital fabrication and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics). Thanks to a grant from the Grable Foundation, that idea was able to become a reality.
In February of 2017, the district partnered with 84 Lumber Tiny Living. 84 Lumber created a prefabricated mobile tiny house. When the shell arrived at the Fox Fab Lab, Justin Papariello, technology and education teacher, lead Fox Chapel Area High School engineering students in designing and building a mobile “Fab Lab” for the district and surrounding community schools. The goal was to outfit the mobile lab with everything that would be found in a traditional Fab Lab – 3D printers, CNC machines, laser engravers, vinyl cutters, computers, and other pieces of technological equipment.
The students took full ownership in making the lab into a fully functional mobile learning environment. They customized the shell inside and out. Students prototyped the best location for equipment before wiring and constructing the workspace. They also designed and printed the outside graphics for the mobile lab. It was truly an authentic learning experience.