Posted: Jun 2, 2013 8:06 PM by Dennis Bragg - MTN News
MISSOULA - "If you can imagine it, you can print it." That statement is being learned first-hand by fifth-graders at Target School as they get hands-on experience with the cutting edge trend of 3D printing.
3D printing is already bringing major changes to the worlds of engineering, manufacturing, and eventually the way you buy goods.
Teacher Kaye Ebelt will spend next year on an Einstein Fellowship with the National Science Foundation, and was given a smaller printer for her students to use before school is out. With help from the commercial printing engineers at Acuity Design, students designed and printed boats, learning volume and displacement.
"We had to design one part of it first, and then we would mirror it and then make the whole thing," said Jaden Brinda, Target Range 5th grader.
"So our first test it held 65 passengers, our second held 64 and our third held 59," said Hannah Ferguson, Target Range 5th grader.
"I know that's something with our education system that's sort of lacking is engineering in the schools and actually applying math and science. So it's really cool that they get to do that here," said James Fields of Acuity Design.
And the students learn this isn't just fun and games, with different teams specializing to ensure success. "Things get hot and you don't want to burn yourself. And when you're removing the model from the platform it chip into your eyes. So you always want to wear the gloves," said Sande Sepulveda, Target Range 5th grader.
The class printed its own catapult to study velocity, an example of practical emphasis on STEM learning, science, technology, engineering and math, "And what I've noticed right off the bat is the vocabulary has increased. Their knowledge of 3D printing and this cutting edge technology is just amazing," said Kate Elbelt, Target Range 5th grader.
Although this printer is going away next week, it's easy to see the new doors that have been opened in these young minds.