Teachers learn lessons in STEM skills and 3-D printing

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By The Huntington Herald-Dispatch

SOUTH CHARLESTON -- Training at the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI) is providing dozens of teachers in 12 counties across West Virginia the tools and skills they need to deliver interactive lessons to their students, according to a news release.

In collaboration with NASA Independent Verification and Validation's Educator Resource Center, RCBI and Marshall University's June Harless Center delivered a one-day workshop on April 5 which provided training on the NASA Museum-in-a-Box program as well as information about the role of 3-D printing in K-12 classrooms. The exercises encourage students to consider career opportunities with innovative, leading-edge technology.

The teachers, counselors and librarians who attended the daylong session at RCBI learned to use NASA's "Museum in a Box." Successful completion of the course permits teachers to borrow a $1,000 classroom kit of activities from NASA that covers science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) lessons. Additionally, each classroom educator can submit a limited number of student designs for production on RCBI and NASA's 3-D printers.

Five Cabell County educators attended the training session. They now will be able to incorporate the NASA-developed exercises in the curriculum for their students.

"RCBI is excited to again bring this hands-on NASA program to teachers and students across West Virginia," said Charlotte Weber, director and CEO of RCBI, in a news release. "STEM skills are a critical part of preparing for today's jobs, and are even more essential for the growing list of rewarding high-tech careers across our state. As West Virginia's Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, RCBI serves employers, workers and students statewide; this collaboration further extends training opportunities to traditional classrooms."

The Museum in a Box program provides interactive, hands-on/minds-on lessons with an aeronautics theme to inspire future scientists, mathematicians and engineers. Its lessons are tied to national STEM topics and focus on Next-Generation Science Standards. The event was made possible by support from the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium.

While at the RCBI Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, teachers toured the Design Works lab, focused on 3-D Software and 3-D Printing technology, and saw first-hand the stable of 3-D Printers and computer-controlled manufacturing equipment available for use by manufacturers, entrepreneurs and start-ups.

"Students' faces light up after the spark of an idea they created is actually produced on a 3-D printer," Weber said. "They're immediately eager to learn more about this innovative technology."

For more information about RCBI, call 800-469-7224 or visit

To learn more about NASA's Museum in a Box program, visit