May 2018 – New and Improved Fab Lab – Bay Area Discovery Museum

May 2018 - New and Improved Fab Lab

We’re taking you behind-the-scenes of our May 2018 Fab Lab upgrade.

When we opened the world’s first early learning Fab Lab, we knew there would be a learning curve; that’s what happens when you’re the first anything.

As we approached the Fab Lab’s two-year anniversary on May 14, we saw the opportunity to reevaluate and saw that the space was capable of doing so much more to serve the diverse BADM audience.

It needed a facelift to reach its full potential, so we closed the doors, took everything apart, and then put it all back together again. The result? A restructured space that we’re excited to tell you about—and can’t wait for you to come see!

Why Now?

The Fab Lab has always been a space where BADM visitors engage with innovative tools and technology, but the experience was limited. While facilitated programs in the Fab Lab have always been a valuable experience for children, there was a lack of other opportunities for engagement. We wanted to find a way to make the Fab Lab’s technology accessible to the visitors BADM gets every day, and the physical space needed to catch up to the programming.

What’s New?
The low and high-tech tools that make the Fab Lab so innovative are no longer exhibit pieces; they invite hands-on exploration. Kids can solve challenges on an analog coding wall and work with a 3-D modeling application. Activities that children can complete on their own will complement the facilitated activity happening in the space. As Fab Lab Program Manager Annalise Phillips explained, “I want people to come in here and be inspired to create. It’s hard to know what’s possible unless you’ve seen it happen.”

Who Is This For?
Everyone! Children of all ages—from toddlers to 10-year-olds—can experience the Fab Lab in a way that is fun, engaging, and developmentally appropriate. While a 2-year-old can approach the analog coding wall as a space to explore shapes, a 10-year-old can go up to that same coding wall and solve complex logic problems. The Fab Lab is also space where adults can learn something new and be inspired by what their child is capable of.

Why It Matters
Sharing STEM experiences with kids is one of the most critical ways we can prepare them for their futures. When children are making something in the Fab Lab, they’re engaging all of STEM at once, while also having fun. Having an accessible environment where all children can come and get hands-on experience with the building blocks of their future helps to ensure that they are able to function in a rapidly changing world.

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