A class of 5-year-olds at Bright Minds Learning and Childcare Center recently got a chance to put technology to work and create a finished product from scratch using a 3D printer available for public use at South Cobb Regional Library. Teacher Shantile Thomas was inspired by STEMapalooza, a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math learning opportunity for Cobb educators held last summer, where she got her first opportunity to see a 3D printer.
Incorporating what she learned at the event, Thomas introduced shape manipulation to her kindergarten class. The class started studying two-dimensional shapes, then moved on to working with cylinders using Tinkercad, a 3D computer-aided design (CAD) tool. Each student designed his own key chain on the computer, but it was still uncertain if the young scholars would be able to take their projects to the next level.
According to Thomas, “We always go to South Cobb Regional Library to check out books with the class, and on one trip I was thrilled to see that they had gotten a 3D printer.”
Thanks to the community outreach of South Cobb Regional Library and Youth Services Librarian Dedra Roman, not only did the children get their projects printed, but the class was able to get a lesson on 3D printing and even watch a key chain being printed in their own Mableton classroom. As the fascinated kids gathered around the printer, they recalled facts they had learned about the 3D printing process and posed some well thought out questions of their own. Seeing STEM subjects spark the interest of these kindergartners was like getting a glimpse of their future scientific endeavors–very bright indeed!