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W.O.P. purchases 3D printer

W.O. Parmer Elementary School recently purchased a 3D printer that students will be able to begin using next year. A 3D printer utilizes rolls of plastic filament that is heated through an extruder onto a flat design stage. Students will use online sites, such as TinkerCad or SketchUp to design their model before having it built using the 3D printer. (Courtesy Photo)

W.O. Parmer Elementary School recently purchased a 3D printer that students will be able to begin using next year. A 3D printer utilizes rolls of plastic filament that is heated through an extruder onto a flat design stage. Students will use online sites, such as TinkerCad or SketchUp to design their model before having it built using the 3D printer. (Courtesy Photo)

Preparing students to be college and career ready isn’t just a job for high school teachers.

It starts the moment a student enters kindergarten.

With that in mind, the W.O. Parmer Elementary School Technology Department is working to make sure its students get hands on experience with some cutting-edge technology.

With the speed in which careers related to science, technology, engineering and math are growing, school officials decided to purchase a 3D printer that students will be able to begin using next year.

A 3D printer utilizes rolls of plastic filament that is heated through an extruder onto a flat design stage. Students will use online sites, such as TinkerCad or SketchUp to design their model before having it built using the 3D printer.

Sandee Taylor, the school’s technology coordinator, said the goal is to collaborate with the school’s art teacher, Ashley Sams, to create a second grade lesson unit where the students conceptualize and plan their creation on paper, use their computer class to design and print their model, and then return to their art class to paint and design packaging for their finished product.

“Our particular printer is basically a beginner’s 3D printer that has the capability of building small models,” Taylor said. “It can handle images that are approximately four inches wide and five inches tall; however, the larger the model, the longer it takes to develop.”

Taylor was able to use money from various fundraising efforts to purchase the MakerBot Replicator Mini 3D Printer.

While students have not yet been able to use the printer, they have had the chance to see it in action.

“Due to the late date of purchase and my attempts to perfect its use, we have not been able to get the students into the designing stage yet. I’ve got a lot of summer training to do myself,” Taylor said.

Taylor said she believes this technology is one more piece in helping prepare W.O. Parmer Elementary School’s students for the future.

“We believe this technology will give our students a heads up on science, technology, engineering and math related activities, and better prepare them to be college and career ready when they graduate,” Taylor said.