Innovating since 2012
The Fabrication Laboratory, at LEAP Academy, was opened in the fall of 2012 as a component under the STEM High School. It was established by the collaborative efforts of a team of Rutgers-Camden STEM Faculty, the Community Leadership Center and the LEAP Academy University Charter School. The “FabLab”, as it has come to be known by all, focuses on the creation and implementation of innovation.. delivered across grade levels by utilizing a problem based/hands-on approach, where students can create something needed to continue their project, not only enhances traditional teaching in STEM, but also provides students with the experiential element that resonates so within the professional strata in this fields.
Responding to the critical need for diversity in STEM fields and to reduce the gap in experiences that engage minority students in such fields, through preparation, motivation and exposition, we aim to jumpstart not only the academy growth of our students, but also the growth of a city that has been left underdeveloped. In tackling the status quo with our initiatives, we at LEAP Academy’s FabLab hope that by utilizing the School’s holistic approach, which includes an adequate environment and philosophical foundations, that support the development of innovative and customized learning structures, we may create a positive impact in the future of collaborative environment between the LEAP family and community, while showing the rest of the world that science can make a difference in the crafting of societies.
It is our goal to establish an environment for innovation and entrepreneurship at the LEAP Academy School District, by providing students, teachers, and Camden community members the necessary tools and machinery that will allow them to design, engineer, and manufacture products.
Through a focused STEM curriculum, and including students as part of FabClub and college-level students as fellows, we aim our work towards building the necessary instructional structures for developing a model for instruction that is vertically aligned from K-12 and that builds on the college preparation of the school, to guarantee the solving of community-level problems.
At the end of the day, younglings learn better when they can relate to the application of knowledge, so learning is not an abstract exercise, but rather a solution-focused process for application. As such, it is the practical & application of the project that builds on ideas, research, solutions and communication for citizenship education and the environment.
Following such thought, we provide a workspace, with all of the resources (laptops with the necessary tools to sketch, design, and model computer prototypes for these projects; with machines capable of reading the computer designs and fabricating the parts necessary to build these prototypes), that promotes research and brainstorming during the initial project design stages. All of this is done taking into consideration the concept of replication, to guarantee complete success in outside locations. This space also serves as a teaching and training area for our visitors.
Welcome to the Fab Lab, the place for innovation, integration & discovery
The LEAP Fabrication Laboratory (FABLAB) was developed to augment the school’s focus on STEM education and to prepare K-12 students to enter and succeed in STEM college careers. This focus responds to the urgent need to diversity the STEM fields. The national data on STEM labor trends, shows that Hispanic representation in the STEM workforce is 7%, while African American representation is 6% (US Census Bureau, Disparities in STEM Employment by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin, 2013). The Fab Lab, is one the school’s Centers of Excellence. These Centers were created to sustain innovation at the school and to provide a vehicle for continued engagement with Rutgers University.
Moreover, the Fab-Lab is a 2,000. facility with twelve 3D printers, one laser cutter, one CNC router, woodworking tools, and digital electronics equipment to build almost anything. With these tools and equipment, the FABLAB hosts Project-Based Learning programs that responds to the critical need for engaging minority students in STEM experiences that prepare, motivate and expose them to a myriad of STEM based academic opportunities. And that is Just what is located at the high school! Each building in our district has a designated Maker Space. A Makerspace is more than a space itself, it is a mindset that can and should be taught. We have a student culture of children who have learned to consume technology; educational zombies with all of their technological skill residing in the swipe of an index finger. With a makerspace, we can move beyond consumption to creation! There is a strong advocacy for this type of teaching and learning and it is critical for policy makers to understand as we develop frameworks that move away from consumption, towards creation in our educational setting. A makerspace is about “turning knowledge into action”, and allows for a true opportunity to support personalized learning.
Students love the Fab-Lab because the student may develop and learn new skills that are directly applicable to the student’s community. The Fab-Lab is not just about technology; it is teaching our students the skills that will mold our students into global citizens.
Building global citizens is our vision and our projects pave the way. For the next year, the students will plan and implement a school based enterprise. The students will design a web page to advertise and display products and services that the Fab Lab may provide the community. The web-based store will provide the students the opportunity to develop managerial, marketing, supervisor, and leadership skills.
Teachers will love the Fab-Lab. Teacher engagement and student impact go hand in hand with one another. Teachers will have professional development tailored to inject more experimental and project-based learning into the teacher’s curriculum.
These are exciting and innovative times and I am happy to be part of the team that makes it happen!
Concept for LEAP Mobile Learning Lab
3D Products made by LEAP Students
Portable & Reusable Drinking Water Filter
Custom Plaques with Box
Custom Engraved Rocks
Recycling Paper Project
Student Mock Up Table and Chairs Project
Now, you too can have cool 3D products around your house! 3D printing has a lot of advantages, one of them being that it reduces the time a product takes to be crafted, while reducing the cost it takes to do so. As such, there is almost no limit to what you can design with this technology.
3D printing makes data sharing easier, so there are thousands upon thousands of concepts out there waiting to see the spotlight. Open source allows for access to such content. At the same time, here at LEAP, we have our own products that we would like to introduce in local communities, as well as to the rest of the world. Here you will be able to take a glance at both and hopefully, you will decide to bring one home with you. All proceeds will be directed to continue the mission of the FabLab and guarantee service to the community.
In keeping with our establish goals and visions, we are designing this shop in order to provide the sufficient funding for maintaining operations. Here you will find two alternatives to obtain cool 3D printed products, from Open Source, and contribute to a good cause. Our catalog provides a very unique chance to find useful 3D printed creations in a single space, and since 3D printing makes data sharing easier, we will always have the most current 3D projects available.
Also, in the spirit of keeping with the times, we are working very hard to make the entire process of shopping for customized products, especially with our future “Made in LEAP” brand, as simple and effective as possible.
Custom orders request will taken through e-mail.
Be it a scissor for an inauguration or a case for your favorite book, needless to say little tokens of appreciation for an unforgettable night (we are very good with our memorabilia) or planters for a gardening project, tell us your idea and we will let you know if we can help you make it a reality.
E-mail us the details and we will take it from there. As soon as we establish commutation, a quote for your project will be offered and with your approval, we will get our staff ready to work on it.
David Salas de La Cruz, Ph.D.
Faculty Director of FAB Labdavid.firstname.lastname@example.org