The STEP (Solve, Tinker, Explore, and Play) Lab is a space that supports the work of university faculty and students, regional preK-12 teachers and students, and other entities (e.g., government agencies, NGOs, corporate partners).  This work allows individuals to understand the complex nature of STEM concepts to construct new understandings for themselves. 

Sustainable Development Goals: Sustainable Medical Resources for the Community, Sustainable Clean Water Resources, and Sustainable Agricultural Resources.  The Step Lab in this capacity will have a “Mission Focus” which treats coding and making in this Maker space as “Computational Thinking and Innovation” with a Social Justice purpose.


NEF STEM Innovation Institute: College Students Solve Tinker Explore and Play in real world projects with the goal of becoming agents of change in their community and mentors to younger students.     

 Sustainable Medical Resources for the Community– Prosthetics development using3D printing. This project will involve Making and Coding, using Robotics and 3D printing. Principles of engineering and nano-technology will be integrated to make specialized products for the at-risk members of our community. Health Care Professions and process for implementation of heath care practice and process of development will be examined. Mentoring and guidance will be made available in the lab from experts in the field.

Examples of Curriculum associated with this project:

(1)   Minecraft 3D heart ( ) and Brain.

(3)    Hacking STEM Lessons –Senorized Glove and Robotic hands lesson plans,

(4)    Introductory Video

(5)    Lesson plans for 3D printing and Certification of Prosthetics with Enabling the Future:

College student mentoring opportunities. Students investigate health care professions and design, with mentors, and innovate 3D print Robotic Prosthesis for authentic users.

Sustainable Water Resources Project-  This project will focus on social justice and water pollution to make and hack for the restoration of our water ways in collaboration with our River Keeper and Port Authority to lead efforts in Sustainable Development Goals SDG for our Jacksonville water ways. College students will have the opportunity to work as mentors in design opportunities. Students will use drone technology along with innovative Stem Hacking coding and making to investigate and propose real sustainable development projects for the Jacksonville water resources. Mentorship and collaborations from professionals in the field will be made available.

Examples of Curriculum associated with the Project:

(1)    Mine Craft Clean Water lessons-

(2)    Hacking Stem Lessons,– Exploring our Oceans: River bottom make a sonar sensor – How do Sharks Swim/ Marine Biology, Measuring Water Quality lesson plans,

Sustainable Development Agricultural Resources Project- The sustainable development of our agricultural resources will be the focus of this project. Students will examine concepts of agricultural development in the 21st century with goals to reinvigorate our rural communities as valuable resources. Food allocation and social justice in our community will be examined. Students model, design, and construct agricultural spaces using Hacking Stem math finder and Minecraft proposals. Drone use in Agriculture and robotic farming techniques will be  included  so concepts of sustainable development can be explored and students can become the agents of change. Students will be encouraged to make and code tools for effective use of our agricultural lands using modern technology for productivity. Experts in Drone technology and technology in agriculture will be made available.

Examples of Curriculum associated with the Project:

(1)    Hacking Stem Lessons – Distance Wheel and angle finder: Math theory using Lego Simple Machines.

(2)    Minecraft Math Garden.

Students design and construct an agricultural prototype using math finder and Minecraft proposals. Introduction to Drone’s in Agriculture. Concepts of agricultural sustainable development are explored.


Special projects and curriculum that are developed in the STEP Lab will be shared with Teachers in our Summer NEF STEM Teacher Training Institute .


As the Regional Partner UNF NEF STEM and the STEP Lab will be implementing the Code.Org Teacher Training workshops this summer. We are “Scholarship-based” teacher Professional Development Institute thanks to  a generous donation from the STEM2HUB. Teachers will find applications for our exclusive Technology infused Teacher Training Institute at the following links:

Elementary School Teachers

Middle School Teachers

High School Teachers



Historical STEP Lab goals

A priority for this space is to find ways to link the technology in the lab with COEHS course curriculum.  As a “home base,” the STEP lab will serve as a central location for technology inside and outside the classroom.  Additional labs will be continuously added to complete a constellation of labs across Northeast Florida to serve multiple constituencies. This arrangement will be non-hierarchical and function through iterative and exploratory feedback between all entities within the lab constellation to assure the needs of the broadest possible audiences (e.g., primary and secondary students, school faculty, UNF faculty and students) are being met.  The lab will also serve as a space to examine emerging and new instructional technologies.  This work can serve to demonstrate “proof of concept” of new equipment and practices through faculty research.