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Tippecanoe Co., Indianapolis Wonder Lab Jr Openings Monday
Indiana Ag Connection - 11/10/2017

Grand openings of two Wonder Lab Jr at elementary schools in Indianapolis and Tippecanoe County will take place Nov. 13.

Wonder Lab Jr is a joint initiative of Purdue University Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-MaC) and the city of Indianapolis to bring design technology to elementary schools and show students the practical applications and benefits of art.

"Design is about finding new applications for technology through artistic abilities, which opens doors for students and helps them think differently about learning art in school," said TJ Kim, associate professor of industrial design in the Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Visual and Performing Arts. "Design can help students understand the importance of other subjects such as math, science, and language; build product solutions; and apply art to real-world solutions and applications."

The grand openings are:

- 10 a.m. at Sunnyside School of International Studies in Indianapolis. The lab at Sunnyside features eight 3-D printers.

- 4 p.m. at Burnett Creek Elementary School. The lab at Burnett Creek features 10 3D printers along with other software and STEAM education kits.

Wonder Lab, a design tech lab, was originally developed to create technology-based maker tools that are accessible, adaptable, and approachable for community members. People interested in having new skills or starting small businesses can learn in a makerspace called Ruckus in Indianapolis. More than 30 startup makers from art, design and engineering backgrounds have learned design tech at Wonder Lab and applied their new knowledge to product development and prototyping.

Wonder Lab Jr. was created to expand the program to elementary age students. Wonder Lab Jr trains teachers to teach their students to use 3D printing to create artistic, functional objects. The lab allows students to learn about industrial applications in the arts. With access to advanced design tech tools, such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC, elementary students will be able to create viable products and objects using materials such as plastic, acrylic, wood and metal.

The program hopes to expand Wonder Lab Jr. to every state to facilitate arts education in the United States.

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