Adams Elementary School

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Design (STEAM) Center


Adams Design (STEAM) Center

All students receive instruction for forty-five minutes to 60 minutes weekly in the Design Center. Students will create innovative projects.  


Mr. Federbusch

Our dynamic Design Center teacher, Sean Federbusch, talks about all things S.T.E.A.M.


What is your background and how did you become the Director of our Design/STEAM Center?


“This is my 7th year teaching at the elementary level. Before teaching, I was a network administrator at a financial company in SB for 9 years. 3 years ago, Dr. Alzina asked me if was interested in helping run a "maker space", aka, Design Center, at Adams. I was! Little did I know it would translate into an opportunity to spend a year at Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy mentoring with their amazing team! While Chloe Milligan (now Pueschel) was starting our design center, I spent the year learning about project-based learning, laser cutting, and design and manufacturing process. Last year was my first year back and it was a huge success in terms of buy-in from students and developing a sense of community of "makers" at Adams.”


Can you speak to the needs of the Design Center and how you've been able to fulfill those needs?


“The needs of the design center are physical; we have a large budget for all the materials we use throughout the year and hundreds of students to accommodate. Fortunately, our PTA has generously allocated $5000, but we will need community donations and more funding in order to meet our comprehensive goals. We also have a need for people volunteering their time. Starting in January, I'll send out a request for adult mentors to volunteer on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 8:30-10:30a. This website maps out our schedule AND highlights some specific opportunities for parents to give.”


How do you work to mitigate challenges in order to achieve your goals?


"Providing a platform for students to explore, build, get messy and fail appropriately, while maintaining a high standard of safety and academic growth is a challenge for any maker space in the public domain. Then our challenge becomes, how do we manage projects and activities for 600 students? Adjusting the schedule is one way we’re addressing the opportunity to dive a bit deeper into projects. More time and space, along with a focused approach to meeting standards across disciplines provides students with an opportunity to “see” the connections between design and their classroom learning. And a BIG advantage of adjusting the schedule will allow our 5th & 6th grade students to dive deeply into projects that demonstrate the potential of hands-on, project-based learning; specifically, how providing context and personal meaning can grow other areas of focus for the student.


Overall, our main objective is to integrate project-based learning with the standards of various disciplines, i.e., math, social studies, science, and language arts. Making connections between design, building, and real life, emphasizes that goal. And, we hope that schedule iteration will enhance each student's ability to experience design in ALL facets of their lives."


What do you envision for the future of our STEAM program at Adams?


"The Design program at Adams school is in a great place! With the continued support of the district, Principal Fresch, and our PTA, we plan to build on the momentum we’ve created. Again this year, students will get to:

  • Code in virtual and physical applications
  • Model in 3D space using our 3D printers and 3D software
  • Understand and create in 2D spaces using our laser cutter
  • Practice measurement in both metric and imperial units
  • Use basic hand tools

Mirroring real world scenarios, students are asked to solve problems and then utilize words, drawings, and oral language to communicate their findings and solutions. This year we intend to grow our program by developing a 6th-grade project, assisted by our 6th-grade team and the engineering staff at the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy. The relationship between DPEA and Adams will grow this year as we work to develop a project that can demonstrate the potential of contextualizing learning across all academic disciplines."