During the spring trimester, Director of Technology Integration & Innovation Christa Lakey applied for the GE Additive Program
because it seemed like a fabulous opportunity to become a part of an online community that holds contests and initiatives for students to design in the classroom and out. The bonus was that it came with a free 3-D printer, but she really joined the program to gain access to the lesson plans and for collaboration with a design community.
As a member of 3D design message boards, Mrs. Lakey saw the GE Additive program mentioned in a few different forums and decided that it would be an incredible opportunity for our students. She completed the application and wrote a description of the work we're already doing in our classrooms to integrate 3D design.
Before Eaglebrook could be considered for the program, Mrs. Lakey had to prove that the school was committed to using the 3D Polar Cloud forum, so in her spring Design class, she had each student post their completed designs to the cloud. The Polar Cloud gave the students an opportunity to understand the positive aspects of social media and sharing ideas and positive feedback with other student designers and professionals. Mason A. ’21 became so interested that he designed his entire house on Tinkercad- from the basic floor layout, all the way down to furniture and books on his shelves. Dean Morris, the head designer and founder of the GE Additive program, 'liked' Mason's design, and all of the students were excited to see that real designers were paying attention to their work. It was after this that Mrs. Lakey heard the news that Eaglebrook had, in fact, won a new 3D printer and an entre into the Polar Cloud Classroom.
Of the win, Mrs. Lakey says, “from a printing perspective, I am thrilled to have another printer. The print queue over the spring was so backed up that I have to mail students their designs this summer. This is a good problem to have - - the students are enthusiastically designing and printing their designs. My rule for the printers is that students can only print designs that they have created themselves. In my opinion, it is not useful to simply download and print things that other people have designed, but the skills that are built by imagining, measuring, and creating in 3D are hugely valuable.”
During the 2018-2019 school year students created 3D pens, marble mazes, veggie cars, personalized coins, replications of famous buildings like the Eiffel Tower, motorized cars with gears, the Empire State Building, and the Parthenon, personalized holiday ornaments with Chinese characters, chess pieces designed for the Odyssey, and truncated dodecohedrons in Geometry class.
The school acquired an XCarve CNC machine this past year, along with a vinyl cutter and we are looking forward to adding a Glowforge laser printer to our equipment list in the near future. According to Mrs. Lakey, “it has been incredibly rewarding to learn to use the design software right along with the students. For them to see that I am interested in learning something new motivates them to do the same. We troubleshoot and work through design challenges together and it has been hugely rewarding.”