Sparking interest in STEM learning

Engage elementary school students in solving compelling problems using the power of science, technology and art

Young people’s engagement is vital to generate positive change and innovation. More than ever, scientific, technical and engineering skills are required to build a more sustainable and equal world. To impact young people’s STEM identity, it is critical to begin at an early age, while self-concept and self-inventories are still being formed. In order to draw young students in STEM learning, it must be fun, motivating and personally meaningful. They must be able to do it, and see it to understand it. Interestingly, the same goes for educators, who must find instructions easy to understand and implement if the intent is to cultivate their confidence in STEM teaching.

Designed to bring meaningful STEM education to young learners between the ages of 5 and 14 through hands-on 3D design and fabrication, the FabMaker Studio program is one of the signature accomplishments of the Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning and Creativity (RCTLC). Created in partnership with researchers at the University of Virginia’s Make to Learn initiative, this program is driven by the pursuit of equity in access to studies and careers in the STEM fields, with a focus on young learners in economically disadvantaged communities. 

Demonstrating a major positive impact on students’ disposition toward STEM studies and careers, FabMaker Studio provides a more practical, affordable on-ramp to digital design and fabrication for both learners and educators. The program features low-cost paper and cardstock, inexpensive digital cutters, and a range of fun, engaging, easy-to-do activities that support STEM learning standards, allowing students to iterate multiple designs and walk away with a finished project at the end of a session.

Since 2019, La Fondation Dassault Systèmes has supported RCTLC’s efforts to develop deployment models and tailored materials required for effective 3D engineering design and fabrication teaching/learning.  Along with offering classroom-based curriculum, the Reynolds Center has opened even more flexible pathways to advance more engaging STEM education through multiple, ready-to-go deployment options, such as in-school Out-of-School-Time clubs, after-school programs and summer camps programs. 

While continuing to work with schools, RCTLC recently started collaborating with the YMCA to scale significantly and expand the reach to younger, underserved student populations through well-established informal learning venues. In an effort to push fast forward on 3D design and fabrication education, the Reynolds Center partnered with the renowned youth-services organization, which serves more than 60 million beneficiaries through a network of 120 global associations. With support from La Fondation Dassault Systèmes in the United States, RCTLC worked with the YMCA in MetroWest Boston to develop and implement an afterschool and summer camp “literacy-meets-STEM” program that uses the power of storytelling as a tool to cultivate key skills and creativity required for confidence and persistence during the design process.

"Thanks to support from La Fondation Dassault Systèmes, the Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning and Creativity has been able to forge a potentially game-changing partnership with the YMCA to introduce engineering design to young learners - both in school and in out-of-school time settings. We appreciate the foundation’s recognition that we must foster a love of engineering - for purposeful, creative problem solving - at this critical, earlier developmental stage when STEM identity and confidence are forming, as well as a need to invite and support a more diverse future workforce of engineers. We’re excited about continuing our partnership to leverage this successful deployment to further develop a replication and scaling model that can be offered to the global network of YMCA that serves tens of millions of young people around the globe."

Paul Reynolds RCTLC > La Fondation Dassault Systèmes
Paul Reynolds
Co-Founder, Executive Director, Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning and Creativity

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Adopted by all United Nations member states, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. La Fondation Dassault Systèmes supports the Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning and Creativity project in meeting two of these goals: Quality Education and Partnerships for the Goals.

Reynolds Center TLC-logo > La Fondation Dassault Systèmes

About our partner

Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning and Creativity

The Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning, and Creativity is a nonprofit organization that encourages creativity and innovation in teaching and learning. RCTLC’s mission is to serve the global learning community through its signature mix of curriculum programs, edtech tools, and storytelling that foster creative human potential in ways that bring the world to a better place.