District Administration June 2018 - 67

in the real world," he says. "3D printers
allow you to touch and feel it and see the
prototype of what you created with science, math and engineering."
STEM educator Amy Farkas has
turned to 3D printers to teach neuroscience to her seventh-graders at Seitz
Middle School in Riverview Community
School District near Detroit. Students
attach electrodes to their arms to control
"grabbing claws" that use cloths to pick
up items. Students print out cloths with
different circumferences and textures
to see what grabs best. Students have to
determine which variables need to change
to improve their cloth's grab-ability.
Students have also experimented with
other everyday items that can be created
for very little cost, says Farkas, who selffunds her printers by applying for grants,
seeking out coupons and participating
in contests. For instance, students have

made security wedges to block doors and
holders for mobile keyboards.
"My students find something every
day to improve on or to replace what is
missing," she says. "This allows them to
re-engineer and make things better."
Liberal arts canoes
The technology of 3D printing even
benefits the youngest learners. Jim Betz,
media specialist at the K2 Banks County
Primary School in Georgia, says his students create drawings that can be printed
in three dimensions.
For example, when students studied
different versions of "The Gingerbread
Man," some of their drawings of the main
character were made into cookie cutters.
At this age, the students don't sit down at
the computer to design products. Rather,
they watch as items are designed and they
become familiar with the process.

When students read the book Paddleto-the-Sea by Holling C. Holling, Betz
printed out several small canoes carrying
Native American figures. The children
wrote about where they wanted their
canoe to end up before releasing the small
boats into a river.
Each canoe had a QR code on it so
that when it was found, its location could
be logged onto the school's web site. In
this case, the printers were more than
STEM tools-they supplemented language arts, history and geography lessons.
"The best thing we ever did was put
the 3D printer in the library," Betz says.
"We get 330 kids a day watching a layer
or two of plastic get put down. I like
exposing them to the concept and letting
them realize the capabilities." DA
Shawna De La Rosa is a freelance writer in
California.

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration June 2018

District Administration June 2018 - 1
District Administration June 2018 - Cover1
District Administration June 2018 - Cover2
District Administration June 2018 - 1
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