STEAM Stories: Southern Door Fab Lab

    STEAM Education: Aric Moore, Tom Mulinix and Bob Eckberg are students in the Southern Door High School Fab Lab curriculum.

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    Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math are a critical component in helping the U.S. succeed now, and into the future. We are proud to present this week’s STEAM Story in partnership with, and sponsored by CESA 7 and Tundraland.

    In this week's STEAM Story, Aric Moore, Tom Mulinix and Bob Eckberg share their Southern Door High School Fab Lab experience. Aric, Class of 2018, relates that the Fab Lab is a room full of technology that's a lot of fun to play with. Machines include laser engravers, a vinyl cutter for stickers and 3D printers for the creation of three-dimensional objects. His favorite part of the class is the freedom and flexibility offered at a project level.

    Glen VanderVelden, Southern Door High School Technology Education Teacher, explains that the Fab Lab is a place for students to constructively solve problems that they aren't able to solve in other settings. It also facilitates freedom of exploration through projects not available in a regular classroom. Many of the students are hands-on learners, and the setting is perfect for the study of technology. While now in its first year, the goal is to continue to develop the Fab Lab, offering more course opportunities for students and adults, with the potential of landing future jobs and careers directly connected to technology-based study applied in the lab.

    Tom Mulinix, community workshop participant, stated his first thought on day one in the Fab Lab was "I want to go back to high school... I want to try this all over again — give me a do-over and let me try this one more time, and just have the opportunity to come in here and use some of the equipment... I mean, how amazing is that?" He explains further, "I feel not only much more closely-connected to Southern Door High School and the students, and so on, but wow, call it a little blast of optimism that we've got some really cool things going on. I'm excited for the kids, because I know the excitement that I feel."

    Bob Eckberg, also a community workshop participant, states the opportunity students were given is a great one, coupled with the benefit of student interaction and feedback, ultimately reaffirming the positiveness and excitement of the opportunity and potential career pay off.

    Mr. VanderVelden concludes in asserting that "Maybe the most important thing we can teach community members or students is to not be afraid of technology, but to embrace it; and to be flexible and willing to learn new things that are coming out there — and if we've accomplished that, we've been successful."

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