Fab Lab Center holds a “Brunch and Learn FUNdraiser” to support STEAM education expansion

Bucks County IU 22  |  Posted on

Maryann Molishus, Bucks IU Teaching and Learning Specialist, speaks with FUNdraiser attendees as they examine the FabMaker Studio workstation.

When children are asked what FAB stands for at the Fab Lab Center in Warminster PA, they excitedly shout “FABulous!” They may not be technically correct, but it is wonderful knowing this is how they feel about this Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab) and the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) learning experiences it provides. In support of the expansion of Fab Lab’s programs, a ‘Brunch and Learn’ was held April 13, 2024, to kick-off a FUNdraising appeal in pursuit of donations and sponsorships. Attendees had FUN learning about the Fab Lab’s mission, current programs and exciting future expansion plans while enjoying a delicious brunch.

From using specialized software to create three-dimensional card stock models to laser engraving their own personalized notebooks and coding robots to move, attendees had the opportunity to explore a wide range of the Fab Lab’s current equipment and programs. In support of inspiring donations, a focus on the future Fab Lab plans were also on display:

An Immersive Reality Studio
This studio will provide an immersive, interactive environment in which students can explore and learn through experiences that elevate problem solving abilities, adaptability and critical thinking. The program has 700+ unique experiences; take a virtual trip to a foreign country, go swimming with the fish in the ocean, visit a virtual art gallery, practice navigating public transportation and more!

The Maplewoodshop Program
This complete wood shop offers hands-on tactile exploration of woodworking and carpentry. The program is recognized by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) as a precursor to their Career Connections curriculum. The curriculum also supports the development of core competencies (creativity, communication and collaboration).

The Fablicator MX 3D Extruder
Capable of designing, slicing and printing 3D models without needing a separate computer, this unique dual extruder system is a workhorse. The MX can make parts using different materials while maintaining exceptional part quality with a large printable area (maximum of 8.5” x 13.5” x 9.5”).

Fab Lab FUNdraising efforts were kicked off by a generous $100,000 donation made earlier this year by Bucks County residents Paul and Aarati Martino. Just $250 can cover the cost of a child attending a Fab Lab After-School Club (an eight-week program), $8,000 can purchase one Fablicator MX, and $50,000 can support the staffing and program to reach 5,000 students annually with the Maplewoodshop.

The Fab Lab also supports two mobile units that take STEAM learning directly to students for week-long residencies at public and private schools throughout the county. Residencies include all the materials, Fab Lab equipment, STEAM curricula aligned to the school’s educational calendar, and a Fab Lab Coordinator. Fab Lab Teachers are all certified, master STEAM educators!