In 2018 and 2019 we designed and assembled a dozen “Spark Carts,” compact, durable, versatile and mobile maker technology stations. We’ve designed and equipped each spark cart with a CNC router and/or a 3D printer, along with other parts and materials required for effective and safe operation in any classroom. Each spark cart also includes a laptop computer loaded with applicable software applications.
Prior to delivering the spark carts to a school, we’ve hosted a 3-day training workshop for the teachers that “champion” the spark carts at their respective schools. The workshops walk the instructors through our projects which they then take back to their schools for implementation. We also provide motivation and give them ideas for how to create their own projects. We instruct them on basic equipment maintenance and trouble-shooting techniques. Lastly, through the course of the year if teachers experience malfunctions with the Spark Cart equipment or difficulties with projects, the STEMbassadors will be on call to assist with a remedy!
Additionally, each year we develop new standards- and project-based lesson plans intended for teachers to implement in their classes over the course of one year using the spark cart. The Spark Cart are “loaned” cost-free to selected teachers/schools for one year, assuming project implementation targets, which we will develop and monitor, are achieved. Media and materials required to complete each project will also be provided.
After our first two years of operation and success, our products and services are expanding to include a wider variety of maker technologies, and we are further developing associated standards-based STEM project curriculum to accompany these technologies. In the next 2 years we hope that >10,000 K-12 students will have gained experience with our fabrication equipment and STEM projects.