Sep 08 2015

Schools, Students Win 3D Printers in Summer STEM Design Challenge

A challenge hosted by MakerBot swept the country, as 3D printing and STEAM comes alive at schools nationwide.

As the new school year kicks off at K–12 schools across the country, some will soon be receiving new 3D printers, courtesy of MakerBot.

Over the summer, the 3D printing company's website Thingiverse hosted a contest titled “Our School Needs a 3D Printer.” The five first-place winners of the Thingiversity Summer STEAM Challenges earned 3D printers to give to the school of their choice, according to an August posting on Thingiverse.

Since June, students have been working hard on STEAM challenges in five subjects — science, technology, engineering, art and math — incorporating various 3D printing and design disciplines.

The five winners of the challenge chose the following schools as recipients for the printers:

SCIENCE winner macakcat from Brooklyn, New York, selected Lincoln Park High School in Chicago.

TECHNOLOGY winner 3ddruckqueck from Germany selected Citrus Hills Intermediate School in Corona, California.

ENGINEERING winner hyperplanemike from Santa Barbara, California, selected Almaden Country School in San Jose, California.

ART winner stylesuxx from Vienna, Austria, selected the Illinois School for the Deaf in Jacksonville, Illinois.

MATH winner wwebber from Bellingham, Washington, selected Georgia Connections Academy in Duluth, Georgia.

Later this fall, these five schools will each receive a MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D printer and supplies from MakerBot.

3D Printing Blossoms at K–12 Makerspaces

With costs dropping on 3D printers, the devices are becoming more common in K–12 schools and makerspaces, which are community-driven workshops for pioneers, tinkerers and students to experiment with designing and printing 3D models. The 3D printing movement has come alive as teachers tap into the power of bringing students' ideas to life.

Both makerspaces and 3D printers were included in the New Media Consortium Horizon report 2015 K–12 Edition, which covers technology trends on the rise in K–12 education. According to the report, the makerspace phenomenon is growing because they are environments “where students take ownership of their education by doing and creating.“

Does your school have access to a 3D printer? Let us know in the comments what your experience has been with these devices.


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