Dealer.com and Generator are launching: Design Lab innovative STEM workshops for 7th-12th grade students. Working closely with area teachers Generator has developed programming that offers students unique hands-on learning experiences that focus on collaboration, prototyping, and flexible thinking. Rachel Hooper, Director of Community Outreach at Generator says, “I see maker education as a way to engage all kinds of learners in STEM, especially those who have struggled with science or math, by exposing them to a new kind of creative problem-solving.”
Design Lab workshops start with design thinking, a creative problem-solving method that embraces human-centered design. Students work with design thinking specialist in the classrooms to design projects. When it’s time to prototype, students head to Generator where they will build and test their projects. Hooper says, “Students drive the design process and our maker educators guide them while teaching them how to use tools such as laser cutters, 3D printers, and other CNC tools.” When projects are collaborative, the opportunity to unite around a choice-filled creative project often helps students who had previously struggled to work in groups.
Design Lab itself is an iteratively developed program. “This is our pilot year and we will be observing, testing and improving our offerings as we move forward,” Hooper says. Featured workshops for the year include:
- Parklet with Purpose – Collaborating with Winooski School’s iLab and Burlington Parks and Recreation the Design Lab team will help students create a mini-park inside a parking space for Winooski residents.
- Marble Run – What does it take to make a gigantic marble run? Middle school students learn prototyping skills as they design and build a gigantic marble run.