On the campus of McKinley Technology High School is a building currently known as the “Broadcast Building.” It has the potential for about 50,000 square feet of space that could be used to build a S.T.E.M. Literacy Center (SLC) based on the model of the J.A. Finance Park that is currently operating in Fairfax, VA. Our vision is to create the SLC on the first floor of the building, inviting companies from the D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas as well as companies including Nike, Sirius XM, Samsung, Harley Davidson, and 7-11 to create mock store fronts that highlight their products through their manufacturing processes so that students of all ages understand “The Why” of what they are learning in the classroom. The objective of the store fronts would be for the students to identify and reverse engineer the key S.T.E.M. concepts to create “aha” moments for students. To ensure the students completely understand these ideas they would be introduced to a “maker space” (or Fab Lab, or Tech Shop) where they could build on these lessons learned from the store front. They would use their own imagination; experiment with the different machinery to design, build and create, all while gaining insight into the relevance of their curriculum.
The maker space would ultimately be a community resource for not only the students, but also for the adult community to learn occupational literacy in computerized machinery such as 3-D printing and machine tools for advanced manufacturing. Staffed with locally known experts, this space will ideally become an avenue for career exploration and skill development for the immediate and outlying communities in the area.
The upper floors of the building would be renovated to provide lab and classroom space for the engineering and IT academies at McKinley Technology High School allowing those programs to grow and be one of the sources of our “locally grown experts.”
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