Armed with screwdrivers, pliers and safety glasses, 14 Terraset Elementary School’s fith-grade girls came to Reston’s newly opened NoVA Labs Saturday to take apart non-functioning computers, scanners and yes, even a large office copier to see what makes it all tick.
“I had a blast,” said Gracie Quinonez . “I’ve never taken anything apart. This was cool!”
Nova Labs is a non-profit makerspace in Reston that provides a community workshop where people can learn, teach and collaborate on creative and technical works, and to promote the usefulness of competence in the technical arts.
On Saturday NOVA Labs partnered with the Mid-Atlantic Girls Collaborative (MAGiC) to engage girls in their program.
NoVA Labs President Brian Jacoby ran the event with help from other NOVA Labs members.
After being assured that they couldn’t break equipment that was already inoperative, the girls (and some boys) started in earnest. “Being able to use tools safely is the first step. It’s key to opening up these things and learning about their mechanisms and how they work. This set of machines were all beyond repair, but perhaps next time something breaks around their house, they’ll be thinking about how it might be fixed.”, Brian said.
“We told the girls to leave their hammers at home,” he said. “Otherwise, it was take-apart to your heart’s content.”