Innovation Station

Innovation Station, the mobile makerspace of Cooperative Extension at North Carolina A&T, brings technological resources and STEM education to schools and community-based organizations. Through making, tinkering and engineering, youth learn 21st-century skills and the value of “design thinking.”

What is Innovation Station?

Innovation Station is a 41-foot long, 8.5-foot wide, 12.5-foot high mobile science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) lab and makerspace. Inside are 15 workstations, including one wheelchair-accessible desk. The exterior of the vehicle is equipped with a 20-foot awning, an interactive monitor and a public address system for outdoor programming.

In the STEM lab, participants can gain skills in the engineering design process, robotics, video game design, computer programming and hardware engineering.

The makerspace is a collaborative workspace where participants can bring ideas to life through the use of both low- and high-tech equipment. Here, participants gain skills in electronics; 3D modeling and printing; innovative problem solving and critical thinking.

Innovation Station is equipped with laptops, iPads, 3D printers, a laser cutter and more.

Reserving Innovation Station

All reservations for Innovation Station are accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis. Please complete the online reservation inquiry form linked below and an Innovation Station officer will be in touch soon.

Reserve Innovation Station

Hosting Innovation Station

Innovation Station generally requires eight or nine standard parking spaces (depending on how the spaces are sized) to fit the vehicle, which will be parked perpendicular to the spaces. For outdoor programming, the host should make sure that schools have made arrangements for Innovation Station to be parked in close proximity to participants’ entrance and exit points. Innovation Station cannot be parked in a fire lane, even if this provides easy access to the school or facility.

Each class session requires the presence of at least one teacher, counselor or equivalent staff member who can be responsible for students at all times. This person will be responsible for any major behavior issues that arise during instruction.

Each session is 2.5 hours long and is limited to 15 students at a time. Some lessons can be completed in the school classroom, in which case up to 30 students can be accommodated per 2.5-hour session. Due to varying classroom sizes and needs, exceptions, logistics and agenda details will be worked out with the chief innovation officer at least two weeks prior to the first day of on-site instruction.

Featured Educational Programs

Robotics

(grades K-12)

Learn how to program robots using coding, math and measurements to achieve defined objectives. Robotics platforms include Wonder Workshops Dash and Dot (K-2), LEGO WeDo 2.0 (2-5), and LEGO Mindstorms EV3 (4-12). All robotics programs will be conducted inside the school or community location.

Video Game Design

(grades 3-12)

Learn the fundamentals of computer programming and design your own video game, which you will be able to use and continue to modify outside the classroom.

3D Modeling and Printing

(grades 3-12)

Develop 3D models using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software. You will learn to manipulate basic 3D shapes in a virtual environment and assemble them into complex 3D shapes. Print your designs on the Innovation Station’s 3D printers. For smaller projects, 3D pens are available. All 3rd grade classes will utilize the 3D pens.

Computer Software Programming

(grades 4-12)

Learn fundamental elements of computer software design and basic programming skills.

Renewable Energy

(grades 4-12)

Build working mechanical prototypes while exploring renewable energy topics through the engineering design process.

Micro:bit Block-Coding

(grades 5-12)

Use block-coding to program a micro:bit circuit board. The micro:bit circuit board can be programmed using blocks, JavaScript, or Python.

Structural Engineering

(grades 3-12)

Explore the concepts of building structurally sound bridges and/or towers.

MagLev

(grades 4-12)

Build a magnetic levitation vehicle and investigate the magnetic properties of attraction and repulsion while testing your vehicle.

Costs for an Innovation Station Visit

Currently, there is no cost for Innovation Station to visit schools and non-profit community organizations within North Carolina. Due to special programming support, for a limited time, we are able to provide this program at no cost to schools and non-profits in North Carolina.