What’s more fun than hands-on learning? Not much. What about getting kids to evaluate, design, build, break it down and try it again…and all while reusing clean waste? It can be done, and these are the kids who will become our next gen professionals, with a bit of help from the U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles (USGBC-LA) Chapter.
On Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, from 2:30-5:00pm, the S.T.E.A.M.-centric Eco-Tech Makerspace will have its ribbon-cutting event for the community, and include local and national dignitaries who helped make this happen. (To attend, click here.) The Eco-Tech Makerspace is this year’s Greenbuild LA Legacy Project, and the afternoon kicks off a week of activities during the Greenbuild International Conference & Expo in Los Angeles. The project is a gift from the USGBC-LA host chapter and the National USGBC to L.A. for hosting the conference, and will be a permanent project providing an enduring means of service, education, and thanks to the local community.
Created by T4T.org, The Eco-Tech Makerspace is built on the idea of reimagining donated ‘rescued materials’ or trash (e.g., wood scraps, thread spools, packing materials), from local manufacturers, for kids to use as they consider a problem (e.g., design a futuristic car, or “Eco-Vehicle”), brainstorm ideas, design a solution, build a prototype, and test/retest it…learning the process of creation.
The Legacy project is helping T4T update its current S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) curricula, handson learning, and environmental stewardship to an “EcoTech Makerspace” with tools that include digital outreach programs related to 3D Design, modeling, coding, and stop motion animation. The project has also helped ‘green’ the space to minimize heat impact on the building.
“We’re all really excited about this project!” states Dominique Hargreaves, USGBC-LA Executive Director. “The Eco-Tech Makerspace not only brought together all the criteria of a Legacy project, but it represented our goal of an ongoing project that will help create the next-gen of sustainably-minded problem-solvers who take reuse to heart. This is not our last Makerspace!”
USGBC-LA is looking to prepare students across the L.A. basin to lead a green economy and is hoping that this project will be the start of an ongoing Eco-Tech Makerspace initiative. With 15 of every 20 new jobs in California requiring S.T.E.A.M. skills (Los Angeles Times 10/31/11), students, parents, and teachers will benefit from integrating technology and projectbased learning.
Says T4T Director, Dr. Leah Hanes, “This Eco-Tech Makerspace helps T4T.org address the T – Technology in our S.T.E.A.M. programs. USGBC and USGBC-LA have provided our students in this underserved community first-hand experience with next generation technology.”
The ribbon-cutting will host a number of hands-on activities—tower building, car-making, interactive Rube Goldberg machine, ‘Star Wars’ upcycled ship—in addition to a program that will include such dignitaries as Kimberly Lewis, USGBC National, Sr. VP, Community Advancement, Conferences & Events; Dr.Mark E. Henderson, Mayor Pro Tem of Gardena; Dr. Helen Morgan, Superintendent, Hawthorne School District; Brent Bushnell, T4T.org Board Chair and CEO of Two Bit Circus; Nicole Shintani, Bud Carson Middle School, Local Teacher; Dominique Hargreaves, USGBC-LA, Executive Director; Leah Hanes,T4T.org, Director; Greenbuild LA Legacy Project co-chairs Coomy Kadribegovic and Maya Henderson; and Isai German, T4T.org’s S.T.E.A.M. Lab Manager and project lead.
Julie Du Brow is the principal of dubroWORKS.
Header image by Jaime Villarino