Fab Lab Hosts “Bush of Life” Workshop for UNCC Middle Schoolers

Since the start of the school year, Mix IT Up and UNCC have continued to do projects with the CU Fab Lab. Recently, Jeff Ginger and his associates at the CU Fab Lab, along with some international Fab Lab-ers, offered to host an after-school workshop for UNCC’s middle schoolers called the “Bush of Life.” The project was focused on “imagining the ancestors of various animals and rethinking the human-centric notion of the tree of life – and then creating a model with the laser cutter at the Fab Lab.” (Jeff Ginger) Many elements of this project corresponded with what the UNCC participants have learned in school. It also gave them a chance to think outside of the box in terms of how they see and look at the world around them, to be creative, to build teamwork and collaboration skills, and to get hands-on experience with different types of technology.

For more information on the “Bush of Life” workshop, please refer to this PDF brochure: Bush of Life

Here are some of the pictures of the workshop – take a look!


The middle-schoolers use the Fab Lab computers for the activity, while UNCC staff member, Sharonda, watches over their shoulders.


Group picture of the participants! The Fab Lab-ers who lead the workshop are on the left, and Janice Mitchell, director of the Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center, stands to the far-right of the group (and, of course, the participating kids are in the middle).


The UNCC middle-schoolers learn teamwork and collaboration skills by working together as a group (with some guidance from the Fab Lab staff).


Participants group together around one of the computers during the workshop.


Listening intently as the Fab Lab team describes the next steps of the activity.


Everyone takes a look at the animals they created with the CU Fab Lab’s laser cutters before building their tree.


Visiting Fab Lab-er Jonathan Landis demonstrates how the tree will be assembled.


Another shot of Jonathan explaining the activity, while the kids listen closely.


A close up of the animals the the UNCC kids designed and created with the Fab Lab’s equipment, before they are used to assemble the tree.


Finally, the tree is being assembled!

The tree that was created during this workshop is now at the Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center, where the kids, their parents, and community members can see it!

Mix IT Up and UNCC send out a big “thank you” to Jeff Ginger, Jonathan Landais, and all of the other Fab Lab-ers for giving us the opportunity to arrange activities like this one for the kids at UNCC, who love participating in them! 


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