In an article this week titled, Reviving the Manufacturing Sector, Starting in Middle School, Education Week reported on the educational efforts of LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, one of the 14 “innovation institutes” (including ARM Institute, of which FCDI is a member) which work to bring government, industry, and academia together to support technology-related research and education in advanced-manufacturing fields. Like ARM Institute, LIFT is part of Manufacturing USA, a national network of public-private research institutes created under the Obama administration.
Partnering with the Ohio STEM Network, an excellent educational resource for some time now, LIFT developed a competition called MakerMinded, in which schools in Ohio Michigan and Tennessee visit local manufacturers and using MakerMinded’s online platform – the LIFT Learning Hub – to identify classrooms and after-school club activities that they can earn points for participating in. Schools and participating states earn public recognition and and useful prizes like programmable robots at the end of each school year.
While MakerMinded doesn’t extend into Florida (yet), the LIFT Learning Hub asset mapping tool is definitely worth a visit. There’s no cost to create an account, and once registered, you can browse projects and activities by grade level (including “workforce”), format (video, lab guide, online course, student directed project, etc), principal manufacturing material (like metal, glass, wood, Hydrogel and so forth), topic (design, processing, etc.) , and length of time available for the lesson.
The Hub draws from a variety of existing resources, functioning as an activity and lesson plan clearing house on ” lightweight metals and composite materials educational tools from industry and education experts around the country”. The ability to narrow down the lesson so precisely though, is a great asset, and the wealth and diversity of projects and curricula available is impressive.
If you’re looking for a good manufacturing education resource, the LIFT Learning Hub is worth a visit.