GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There’s a new push to give every school in Kent County a tool that brings the basics of science, technology, engineering and math education to life.
Tuesday, students of Union High School in Grand Rapids were the first recipients of a device sponsored through the Kent Intermediate School District 3-D Printer Challenge.
With a 3-D printer, teachers can help students make their ideas a reality — something they can hold and use.
“We’re asking the students to find problems — find common problems that they encounter or they see other people encounter and then solve those problems,” said Rick Mushing, a STEM consultant with Kent ISD.
Sometimes when you’re a teenager in Michigan in the winter, your french fries get cold in the car. So students at Northview High School designed a device to fix that and used a 3-D printer to build it.
“It plugs into the hot air vent of your car and the hot air blows over your fries and keeps them warm while you’re driving,” Mushing showed 24 Hour News 8.
It even has a place to hold the ketchup.
The Kent ISD 3-D Printer Challenge encourages local businesses to sponsor a printer for a Kent County school. For a pledge of $3,000, the school will get a printer and enough supplies to last three years.
Wolverine Coil Spring sponsored Union High’s 3-D printer. Tuesday, Kent ISD STEM consultant Ebiri Nkugba explained to the students there what the machine can do.
“They are tentative because we’re telling them something they maybe haven’t heard this way before. It’s OK to screw up. It’s OK to try. It’s OK to not know, but make it an educated guess,” Nkugba said.
Nkugba says some of the problem-solving and adaptation skills the students will use with the printer are very much like jobs they’ll someday have in the real world.
“When they see their ideas start to happen … they get really impressed with themselves. As an educator, as a human being, if I can help you be impressed with you, I’ve kind of done my job,” Nkugba said.
Builders Exchange of Michigan will sponsor a printer for Ottawa Hills High School, which is scheduled to be in the school by the beginning of the next school year.
Bosch — the parent company of Dremel, which makes the printers — is partnering with the ISD on the challenge.