The Fab Lab

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Summer is the perfect time to help school kids hone in on their math and science skills. That’s the approach being taken at Independence Community College.

They’re taking what they learned in the classroom and turning it into some pretty impressive creations. The kids are working in the “Fab Lab” at Independence Community College, and the goal is to help them see just how cool math and science really are.

“Part of our purpose at Fab Lab is teaching them or showing them the value of experiential learning,” says Jim Correll.

In other words, using classroom lessons to get a little dirty.

“When they learn how to do this stuff themselves and they make these things, and they make mistakes when they make these things, and then they learn from their mistakes, that’s a much better way of learning than just if we told them the right way to do it in the first place,” says Correll.

Correll says this gives them a chance to get the kids excited about science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. But Fab Lab manager Tim Haynes says the kids aren’t the only ones benefiting from these summer sessions.

“There really is not a better way to spend summer, because it recharges our batteries, and we really get a boost of energy from working with these kids,” says Tim Haynes.

Haynes says what the kids may not realize is exactly what they’re being taught.

“What they learn here is really to enjoy learning,” says Haynes.

Haynes says they do that be teaching the kids to experiment and ask questions. And not just about engineering.

“We have artists, we have designers and we have kids that are very good at computer coding and programming. Everybody’s welcome here. There’s always something for everybody,” says Haynes.

For the third year year in a row staff at the Fab Lab are working with the Greenbush Education Service Center to bring kids like these into the shop. But they’re not the only ones who’ll spend some time on campus this summer. Haynes says other than a short break, they’ll have kids on campus all summer long.

And Correll says along with a love for learning and even a fun way to use some of their skills, these kids will also leave with a new grasp on problem solving that they can use the rest of their lives.

“When they’re working on something they’re interested in, they’ll learn whatever they need to learn to make it work,” says Jim Correll.

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