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    PA Dept. of Education discusses PAsmart Grant

    Last month the Bucks County Intermediate Unit (Bucks IU) hosted the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for a roundtable discussion regarding their award to the Bucks IU of a PAsmart Advancing Grant.

    This grant, for $412,656, is for the creation of a Mobile Fab (Fabrication) Lab and its related educational programs.

    Facilitated by Mr. Judd Pittman, Special Advisor to the PA Secretary of Education and PDE Special Consultant on STEM, the grant was made available through Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s PAsmart program

    Mr. Pittman highlighted how a Mobile Fab Lab will serve as a platform for learning and innovation: a place to play, to create, to learn, and to invent by providing students with project-based, hands-on, STEM education.

    Information was provided on the transit van that will be equipped to transport coding and robotics materials, 3D printers, laser and vinyl cutters, and more.

    The Mobile Fab Lab will be available to travel throughout the county to provide age-appropriate curriculum, in week-long programs, at schools through the academic year, Saturday and summer programs for students living in homeless shelters, and summer camps.  

    The educators and curriculum directors on the panel provided several points of information on the benefit and impact they eagerly anticipate seeing from their students as related to STEM education and ultimately STEM careers.

    As the state has projected regional and statewide Pennsylvania lab­­or force shortages, specifically in the computer science and STEM job markets, several panelists focused on the importance of early exposure of students to futures in STEM related fields.

    For more information STEM programs from the Bucks IU, contact Dr. Lindsey Sides, Supervisor of STEM Programs at 215-348-2940 ext. 1460 or e-mail her at LSides@BucksIu.org.