GLASGOW — North Jackson Elementary has been awarded a grant that will help fund the purchase of a 3D printer.
The grant was awarded to the school through the GE Additive Education Program, a global STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) initiative working to build the use of 3D equipment throughout the education field to develop future talent in additive manufacturing.
The school is set to receive its 3D printer in August.
Tina Sharp, who works with students in grades K-6 in the school's STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art, Math) Lab, will also be working with fifth- and sixth-graders, plus some fourth-graders, in using the 3D printer on a variety of projects.
“It's another opportunity for the kids to get some hands-on experiences,” she said.
The school will also be receiving a Premium Polar Cloud account and curriculum/lesson plans from STEAM/trax and Tinkercad to use with the 3D printer.
“They (students) actually get to go from brainstorming and solving a problem to drawing it out, blueprinting it and designing it, and then actually getting to use the machine and actually getting to build it,” Sharp said.
She explained each school that participates in the GE Additive Education Program can set up a school store to sell products they make with their 3D printer.
“If a kid makes a Fidget Spinner, they can actually put it on the school store and sell it,” she said.
The 3D printer will come with a sampling of filament the school will be able to use in making its first few projects.
“Every time you build a project, there is a cost,” Sharp said.
She is hoping to obtain some donations this summer and during the school year to help fund the purchase of additional filament and other supplies needed so the students can use the 3D printer on a continuous basis.
The GE Additive Education Program offers monthly challenges for students. For the month of June, the challenge is to build a Minecraft character.
The program walks the students through the steps they must take to create a design for their character. It also tells them how to upload the design of their character to Polar Cloud.
“They have winners every month. Probably, that's how we will get started to kind of get our feet wet; focusing on the challenges that they have,” she said.
Sharp will have to do some online training before she can began working with NJE students on 3D printer projects.
“This is something that it is all brand new,” she said. “We're excited.”
Jeannie London, principal of NJE, also plans to learn how to use the 3D printer.
“I don't know as much about the process of using the 3D printer as what I'm fixing to learn, because, honestly, I would like to be there right along with Mrs. Sharp as she is learning it, so that I can come in and actually do some of those lessons with the students,” London said. “That's part of my professional growth plan for this next school year.”
London continued that NJE is committed to the STREAM Lab because it is the future for the students.
She also said NJE is committed to working with the Barren County School District's grant writer in finding as many grant opportunities as possible.
“With Mrs. Sharp's help we can shoot the moon,” London said. “With her help, I feel like we can provide every single opportunity that we can for the students here at North Jackson.”