i.lab for Design + Making

The Magellan International School in Austin, Texas is home to the i.lab for Design + Making (i.lab), a collaborative innovation space that encourages students to tinker, explore, and create with the powerful ideas of the Maker Movement, both in the lab and in classrooms across the campus.

What sets this constructionist learning lab apart from other makerspaces is that when Magellan students work with leading edge tools like human-centered design. agile, and digital fabrication , it’s not just to enrich classroom learning. Rather, it’s a powerful vehicle for empowerment that when combined with the school’s IB approach to learning, propels student innovation.

From low tech equipment like nails, hammers and saws to higher tech equipment such as sewing machines, carving and laser engraving machines and 3-D printers, students are learning to create and “make” in a very hands on way. Through the collaboration of the school’s Innovation Director and both Design and Lead Teachers, students are approaching problem solving through a variety of creative and practical approaches.

A small selection of Inquiry Activities completed by students in the 2017-2018 School Year in the i.lab include:

3rd Grade: Physical Computing and Science
Students created interactive, multimedia science exhibits by combining coding, electronics, microcontrollers, and craft material.

4th Grade: Project Management with Agile
Students managed a complex school project using Scrum, an approach used by programmers that focuses both on theh process and products created by teams.

6th Grade: Language Arts & Digital Fabrication
As part of a study of The Outsiders, students designed and created colorful mosaic tiles with a desktop milling machine to represent the major themes of the work. Students also created designs for jewelry, school-themed souvenir items (keychains, badges, etc.), and other small props in the 3D printer.

7th Grade: Sustainability & Product Design
Students created a sustainable product by adapting a non-biodegradable material that will impact the environment.

8th Grade: Visual Arts & Digital Fabrication
Students designed a logogram that expresses their personal and cultural identity. Then, they etched glass with their own logo.