Fab Lab of the Week: Castilleja Girls School in Palo Alto, CA
This week’s featured Fab Lab is the Castilleja School in Palo Alto, California. Castilleja is an independent school for girls grades 6-12 in Palo Alto. The Silicon Valley Mercury News published a feature on the school and its Bourn Lab.
The Bourn Lab is part of the FabLab@School program, which was created by Paulo Blikstein, an assistant professor at Stanford who has a similar lab on campus and who started one in Moscow. Blikstein was a master’s student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology around the time a fab lab was created there, he said.
The Bourn Lab has a couple of 3-D printers, a 3-D scanner, a laser-cut printer and other equipment that have enabled one seventh-grade history class, for example, to re-create models of Leonardo da Vinci’s machines. A revolving bridge, an aerial screw, a catapult and other laser-cut wood models of the great inventor’s machines now sit in Castilleja’s library for all to admire.
The equipment for the lab cost about $60,000 and was funded by the school, the Edward E. Ford Foundation and the Doug Bourn memorial fund. Bourn, an engineer at Tesla Motors (TSLA), died in a plane crash in East Palo Alto in 2010 along with two other Tesla employees. Bourn was Castilleja’s robotics mentor.
As part of its partnership with Blikstein, Castilleja also is helping with the cost of another school fab lab, at East Palo Alto Academy, which will open later this year. Blikstein said he’s currently talking with teachers at both schools — he has worked with teachers at East Palo Alto Academy for a while, and some of the school’s students have been using his Stanford fab lab regularly — and envisions having students from the school in East Palo Alto do joint projects with Castilleja students.
Below is a video of students from the class of 2011 working in the Fab Lab.