MakerBot, a Stratasys company, announced its ongoing commitment to making 3D printing accessible to more students with the donations of the MakerBot SKETCH, MakerBot METHOD X, and MakerBot Replicator+ 3D printers and 3D printing materials to several organizations that support underserved and low-income communities across the United States. Si Se Puede Foundation, Kihei Elementary School, Manatee Children’s Services, Inc., HATCH Workshop, and The Steam Foundation are expanding their youth development and STEAM initiatives with the addition of MakerBot 3D printing solutions.
MakerBot provides one of the most comprehensive 3D printing ecosystems for education. MakerBot offers a full suite of connected hardware and software solutions that address the wider needs of educators to deliver a better learning environment. Educators can harness the power of the largest collection of 3D printing lesson plans and a highly engaged community on MakerBot’s Thingiverse platform and the only ISTE-certified 3D printing training programs, MakerBot Certification. MakerBot’s easy-to-use and reliable 3D printers and library of 3D printing and design thinking content allow educators and students to unlock the opportunities with 3D printing.
The Si Se Puede Foundation, located in Arizona, offers programs and opportunities to underserved communities to become more proficient in STEM. Si Se Puede is building a STEM center that offers 3D printing for students who do not have access to these types of programs at their schools. The new center will also be available to groups that need a place to hold workshops and other activities.
“In every population that is not currently engaged in the 21st century economy, it’s our belief that at least 15% can become engaged in it. The STEM center was designed to fill a need in the community and that is to bridge the STEM divide that exists in our community,” said Faridodin (Fredi) Lajvardi, President/CEO and STEM Director at Si Se Puede Foundation. “Learning how to use 3D printing is becoming increasingly essential as the technology becomes more widespread in the workplace. Our METHOD X 3D printers have been running constantly for a range of applications, from our robotics team creating prototypes and end-use parts for their FIRST Robotics Competition robot, to working with other nonprofits to modify toys so that children with limited physical mobility and dexterity could play with those toys. We also plan to offer MakerBot Certification training programs for teachers and students to certify them on the SKETCH 3D printers. We want to teach students how to use 3D printing and empower them with the skills they need to be prepared as they enter the workforce of the future.”
Hawaii-based Kihei Elementary School aims to create lifelong learners and global citizens through relevant, meaningful, and engaging instruction for all students. The school strives to foster a safe and culturally rich atmosphere where students are encouraged to create, explore, and reach their true potential.
“The impact of 3D printing really dwells in the power and capability it has to spark the imagination and creativity of our students. This is where the magic of art, science, and design meet to develop solutions for everyday problems (i.e., paper towel holders, toothpaste tube rollers, desk organizers, prosthetics for action figures or barbies, etc.” or to create an artistic masterpiece for fun,” stated Kristen Goodwin, 3rd Grade Teacher at Kihei Elementary School. “The use of SKETCH and 3D printing can usher in technology integration into virtually any lesson inside our classroom. We can design and print shapes in geometry, and then turn around and reimagine then print ancient artifacts in history. Being able to offer this type of technology to my students inside my classroom is also a great way to encourage students to pursue their passions/careers in STEAM.”
Manatee Children’s Services, Inc., located in Florida, is a not-for-profit agency that offers therapy and all types of prevention and intervention services for youth that have been placed in the foster care system. The agency plans to introduce 3D printing as a hobby to help alleviate the stress the children go through in the process.
“In our shelters, the kids have a lot of downtime. With 3D printing, children can make 3D objects come to life. The time they spend concentrating and deep in thought working on their creations allow them to escape the trauma they have experienced,” said Derek Beaulieu, M.S. BRIC Therapist, MCS Child Advocacy Center, Manatee Children’s Services. “3D printing actually helps soothe the amygdule in the brain stem. The amygdule is the part of the brain that senses fear and, for many of the kids we have, the trauma they experience has the amygdule inflamed. The designing of a 3D object allows the children to concentrate on what they are making, which in turn helps them to relax and forget about other things. Printing the objects and bringing their creations to live give them a sense of self-esteem that they are lacking. At MCS, we are grateful to MakerBot for allowing us to introduce the hobby of 3D printing into these kids’ lives and providing them with a hobby that will give them some relief from their anxieties.”
HATCH Workshop is a nonprofit organization in California with the mission to awaken and empower the craftsperson in everyone through training, resources, and more. Using the MakerBot 3D printers, HATCH aims to provide training to local libraries and makerspaces with training on 3D printing and how best to engage the youth in the area.
“Our goal is to cultivate an environment of deeper engagement with existing resources and knowledge in our community. By engaging with the deeper nature of the technology to understand functional limitations and strengths, a broader discourse within the context of society can emerge,” said Elazar Abraham, Executive Director, Production Manager & Digital Creative Specialist, HATCH Workshop. “Our workshop has a wide range of equipment, including MakerBot 3D printers, a full-sized CNC router, a woodworking shop, a metal shop, and a pottery studio. The idea that “We Can Make Anything” runs through our programs. To best prepare people to create objects and explore processes that move the discourse forward, we encourage them to think about every tool as being no better than a pencil, and to focus on intention and implementation. With the addition of MakerBot 3D printers, I want to create more opportunities for our community to expand the range of what’s possible.”
The Steam Foundation, a California-based nonprofit, is on a mission to make STEAM education equally accessible to all students in kindergarten through 12th grade through its free virtual workshops that teach 3D printing, robotics, graphics design, and coding, as well as bring 3D printing programs to under-resourced schools. The Foundation teamed up with MakerBot to expand access to 3D printing.
“When we started The Steam Foundation, we wanted to give more students the chance to learn about 3D printing,” said Aadhav Prabu, Executive Director and Co-founder of The Steam Foundation. “3D printing not only teaches students how to be critical thinkers and problem solve with design thinking, but it also encourages creativity and collaboration—important skills needed in life. We believe that 3D printing education can make a lasting impact on students as long as they have access to the tools and resources.”