Eaton RESA rolls out mobile ‘Fab Lab’

Published: Aug. 28, 2020 at 9:54 AM EDT
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EATON COUNTY, Mich. (WILX) - In this edition of ’Schools Rule,’ WILX News 10 is highlighting a group of teachers who are taking their lesson plans to their students.

There are a lot of career fields that need hands-on learning and training so Eaton RESA’s ’Fab Lab’ is a trailer that can take training on the road.

It has a CNC machine, a 3D printer and a virtual and real welding machine.

“It’s so students can experience what they could be going into as far as a class here and then also going into a great career as far as business and industry,” said Michael Reynolds, the Principal at Eaton RESA’s Career and Technical Education Center.

The ’Fab Lab’ travels to Eaton county schools. It was at Grand Ledge’s ’Comet Camp’ in early August.

“The kids excited to be able to see it and then when they get to go in and experience it, they’re excited to be able to press the buttons and see what all the different pieces of equipment do,” said Reynolds.

The mobile lab is designed for students in kindergarten through 12th grade with varying lesson plans for different grade levels.

Sara Jobson, the Career Pathways Specialist for Career and Technical Education at Eaton RESA says that way students can get a hands-on approach to what she calls incredibly important career fields.

“i think that trying to provide this opportunity at any grade level continues to plant that seed so that hopefully later on they might find something career-wise or even just classes-wise that would be interesting to them,” explained Jobson.

The ’Fab Lab’ has been in development for two years. It was made possible through a partnership with Lansing Community College and the Marshall Plan. They plan to develop more labs by the end of the 2020-2021 school year that will be available to the Tri-County area.

“We spent pretty much all year last year working on lessons and to actually see things happening that we had been talking about, it was just really gratifying,” said Jobson of taking the trailer to Grand Ledge.

“It’s really exciting,” said Kathleen Szuminski. “The kids can’t always come to us, especially in covid we’re going to have to rethink a lot of what we’ve been doing,” said Kathleen Szuminski. “It’s exciting to be on the forefront of this, it’s exciting to be, I believe the only school in the area that has this, especially at the K-12 level.”

Some schools in Mid-Michigan have opted for online-only learning plans for the Fall 2020 semester but the ’Fab Lab’ crew still has plans to hit the road, they say with social distancing and safety in mind.

“Eaton RESA is committed to providing those hands-on opportunities that we feel are so important for students to have,” said Jobson. “It shows our commitment to showing students what opportunities are out there in the industry. We’re hoping to instill some interests in students at an early age.”

The ’Fab Lab’ is housed at Lansing Community College. They are looking for a permanent staffer to help with future trips. Right now two students with staff are allowed on the ’Fab Lab’ at a time.

Copyright 2020 WILX. All rights reserved.

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