US Department of Education Impressed by Laboratory School Engineering Curriculum Developed with NSF Support

US Department of Education Impressed by Laboratory School Engineering Curriculum Developed with NSF Support


On Monday, September 12, U.S. Secretary of Education John King visited to the Laboratory School for Advanced Manufacturing in Charlotteville, VA as the first stop on the Opportunity Across America 2016 Bus Tour. Located within the Buford Middle School, the Lab School was developed with NSF support, and serves as a site for internships by preservice teachers from the University of Virginia Curry School of Education

View a video of the visit:

The FabLab Classroom:

The goal of the FabLab Classroom (NSF ITEST #1030865) was to identify effective ways of integrating advanced manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing into the K-12 curriculum and to prepare pre-service and in-service teachers to incorporate these technologies into their teaching. To support this work, the University of Virginia developed a Laboratory School for Advanced Manufacturing (Lab School) in collaboration with the Charlottesville and Albemarle school systems.  The Lab School provides a permanent testbed for this work and a site in which pre-service and in-service teachers can observe and participate in best practices. 

At the launch of the Lab School, NSF Assistant Director, Joan Ferrini-Mundy, stated "We like to see this kind of impact from a research project where NSF has made an investment.  As there is more and more emphasis on teaching engineering concepts in K-12 classrooms, it's crucial that we understand the most effective strategies for student learning. The resources brought together through this partnership are building on the initial project and increasing its scope and reach. That's very exciting." (

A key Lab School initiative, undertaken in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution, allows students to reconstruct working models of pivotal historical inventions that shaped the world, such as the telephone, the telegraph, and early electric motors. Smithsonian Invention Kits allow students to reinterpret and reinvent inventions using modern manufacturing technologies. This work incorporates science, mathematics, and history in an integrated context. By approaching these concepts in an integrated fashion supported by active experimentation, students have an opportunity to gain a lasting understanding of fundamental ideas that form the foundation of today’s world.

Learn more about this project's work: