A Christchurch primary school is using its new 3D printer to problem solve everyday issues for a local tetraplegic woman.
Selwyn House School teacher Simon Christie called on his mother-in-law Adrienne Coleman to speak to his mechatronics class on Friday about her disability and how small tasks such as using zippers, holding pens or using stairs were difficult for her.
Encouraged to think outside the box, students came up with inventions and gadgets to help her, including putting rockets on her wheelchair, special cutlery gadgets, and holograph screens.
“Some of their ideas were quite feasible,” Christie said.
“They don’t even know they’re learning, they just think they’re having fun.”
Christie said over the term, the class would explore the issues for Coleman, come up with designs and prototypes and then create a final product for her.
He said sparking the creative aspect of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects was very important.
“We need to prepare our girls for the jobs of the future. It’s the thinking skills and the creative skills.”
Previously a teacher, Coleman said she was happy to be part of the exercise which she saw as an opportunity for the students to problem solve.
“It gives these young people a chance to be creative, to see if they can come up with solutions.
“It helps young people to think in a different perspective – what it would be like to be in someone else’s shoes,” she said.
The school purchased two 3D printers with the $5000 it received from the Caltex Fuel Your School grant to add to its collection of four 3D printers school-wide.
Selwyn House School principal Lyn Bird said the 3D printers played an integral part in the school’s “enabling devices project” to help develop STEM learning.
“This funding allows our students to develop a deeper understanding of the world and how we share it.”
The Fuel Your School grant reflected Caltex’s mission to encourage Kiwi children to engage with technology and the sciences, Caltex’s Jeremy Clarke said.
Sumner School, Hurunui College and View Hill School also won the grant.
As seen on stuff.co.nz, article by Monique Steele. (1 April 2017)