Outfitted with all kinds of STEM-rich materials, games, tools, pop-up tables and awning, BSB’s Think Make Create (TMC) Labs ® are 7-by-12-foot mobile makerspaces that become instant platforms for hands-on learning for kids attending afterschool and summer programs.
- What was your experience like when constructing an actual TMC Lab®?
“The experience has been great so far. Upon starting here, I had a lot of building experience, but wasn’t super-familiar with the CNC, which is the machine we use to cut all of the interior parts. It has been a blast getting to learn the ins and outs and was way easier to pick up then it originally seemed. When building a TMC, we try to partner with a high school shop class, or SkillsUSA club, and it has been great getting to work with numerous different sites across the state. The interior of the trailer itself is all made from 7 sheets of plywood and metal framing and can be constructed by anyone with very minimal building experience.”
2. How many TMCs are there to date?
“There are currently 24 TMC Labs ® in Nebraska with multiple others on the way [with]in the next couple of months. We now have TMCs ® in four states as well.”
3. Can you describe your experience working with high school kids?
“Working with different high school kids across the state has been an amazing experience. All of them are very eager to help and have been great to work with. It is so cool to see them take pride in helping build something that younger kids in their own community will use. When students see all of the parts come in with the trailer, they are a little overwhelmed at first, but by the end of it, they feel a real sense of accomplishment [so] that they overcame the initial doubts. We usually like to build the trailer out with four to five students, and they all have different backgrounds on building experience.
The last few [Think Make Create Labs ®] that we have built out have been completed in about six hours with students who have never built them before. It has been super-impressive how motivated and easy they have been to work with. By the end of it, they all feel more comfortable in the shop, and are usually asking me if they can help build another one!”