Middle school students from Community Collaborative Charter School in West Sacramento visited Hacker Lab powered by Sierra College on May 25 to engage in the Tech Explorer project and learn fabrication skills from Sierra Makerspaces mentors. Tech Explorer (tech-explorer.com) was created in 2007 by Steve Hunter, Prof. Emeritus in Mechatronics with funding from the Chancellor’s Office, Workforce & Economic Development Division. The project reached more than 1,000 students and was replicated in schools across the country as open-source curriculum to give middle and high school students a guided experience in manufacturing.
The Tech-Explorer team, many of whom continue to participate in the Sierra Makerspaces project, held a mentor reunion to set up the lab and instruct students in making their catapult, which they took with them after participating in a launch competition. Teacher Russ Fluty said, “Thank you so much – the kids had a blast today . We launched marshmallows, starburst, craisins, chocolate, chips, cheezits!!! I am forwarding information and pictures about our visit to our Superintendent. She is a huge advocate of creating Makerspaces for students at school so they can learn the “lost art of tinkering in their father’s garage.” Thank you again!!! We look forward to partnering with you in the future!”
Students comments included: “Thank you, you are awesome”, ” I really like the education and the catapult is really fun”, and “I love Hacker Lab. We should do a robot next year.” More than 50% had never used hand tools, and nearly 70% had never used automated tools such as an arbor press, a drill press, a milling machine or lathe.