You are here

PITSCO Lab Tour

The Pitsco Lab at Abby Middle is a key component of the S.T.T.E.M. program.  STTEM stands for Science, Trades, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  The lab is used by grade eight students who choose one of the following modules for their final project:


1. Yearbook:  The students who enroll in this project are the reporters, designers, editors, publicists, and photographers for the Abby Middle yearbook! ’ Yearbookers’ learn Adobe InDesign, an industry standard layout program, to help make it completely from scratch- no templates!


2. CNC Manufacturing:  The students who enroll in this project are diving into the exciting world of the computer carving industry.  We have a small milling operation at AMS; including, two Pitsco Z Mill machines and 1 Carvewright  machine.  ‘CNCers’ use computer software to design images, then they operate the machines that do the cutting.   We make, and sell, locker decorators, bedroom name plaques, signs and more!


3. Energy Power and Mechanics:  The students who enroll in this project are lucky enough to be helping with the World’s Longest Gumball Machine.  We’ve applied for the official Guiness Record and are awaiting the results! ‘EP&Mers’ use a variety of simple machines (levers, pulleys, gears, ramps) to make a complex machine (google Rube Goldberg machine) that gets attached to the 85 foot long gumball machine!


4. Robotics:  The students who enroll in this project get a real in-depth experience with some amazing robots.  We have a Pitsco SAM robotic arm that you program.  As well, we have four Lego NXT Mindstorms Robots.    You can put sound, light, touch, motion sensors on your bot; you can attach ten wheels, you can put a motorized claw, you can do pretty much anything with the bot.   No, we don’t have robot wars, unfortunately.  But….we do have robot competitions!


5. Rocketry:  The students who enroll in this project are faced with a daunting task: launch a water rocket 70 feet in the air AND it is carrying precious cargo, an egg; then, land the rocket in a way that the egg does not break on impact.  ‘Rocketeers’ must design a rocket, an egg storage compartment, and any kind of energy absorbing landing system that will save the egg!


6. Flight:  The students who enroll in this project get a great introduction to the aeronautics industry, a thriving industry here in Abbotsford- see Abbotsford Airport.  ‘Pilots’ in this module practice their flying skills on Microsoft Flight Simulator 4.0 then design and build their very own glider.  We use real-life aircraft structural engineering principles as a guide for building any sized glider you want.  And of course, we launch them when they are done!


7. Engineering Bridges:  The students who enroll in this project are civil engineers in the making.  You learn the basics of structural engineering then you design and build spaghetti bridges.  We are the three time Provincial Champions of Skills Canada’s Spaghetti Bridge competition.   You can design arch bridges, truss bridges, or even a new type of tension-bridge the world has never seen!


8. Alternative Energy:  The students who enroll in this project become solar, wind, geothermal power experts.  If you are interested in saving the environment, then this station is for you.  The final project is Science Fair.  In the last five years we have had three students go to Nationals and in 2012 our student came 2nd in the country!


9. CADD:  Computer Automated Drafting and Design.  The students who enroll in this project are the architects of the future.  You are given a plot of land on BCs west coast.  You are given an unlimited budget.  It’s an architect’s dream come true- design a Dreamhouse.  Drawings are done on Punch Home Design and CADD Lite, then you build a scale model of your dreamhouse!


10. CG&A:  Computer Graphics and Animation.  The students who enroll in this project use stop motion animation to produce a short movie, music video, or TV commercial.  We use Stop Motion Pro and Microsoft Movie Maker.  You get to write, direct , do voice acting, edit, and make sets for your own production!  Vancouver has a huge movie industry, let’s get you in it!