If they build stuff, students will come -- to learn more.
That's the idea behind a recently opened fab lab at Castilleja School in Palo Alto. Thursday afternoon in Elaine Middleman's Biology and Economics of Cancer class, seniors Suzie Quackenbush and Christine Herrmann, both 18, were working on what they called a cancer-screening box, a device that would allow researchers to view slides with cells. After three days working at the lab, they had a cardboard prototype held together with blue tape.
"Eventually it will be made of thin wood, with metal hinges," Quackenbush said. "It'll look much better than this." It will have to work, too. Middleman said the students are being graded on "producing a functional product."
Distance learning, YouTube, the iPad -- new technology is helping transform education in many ways. But the Bourn Lab, a fabrication lab built especially for middle- and high-schoolers, aims to get students to create tangible things.
The Bourn Lab is part of the FabLab@School program, which was created by Paulo Blikstein, an assistant professor at Stanford who has a similar lab on campus and who started one in Moscow. Blikstein was a master's student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology around the time a fab lab was created there, he said.
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