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Lake Hills Elementary Receives 3-D Printer

3D printer presentation group photo   
 
Lake Hills Principal Mrs. Bachmann received a "too good to be true" email just a few days before Christmas: Notification from an Indianapolis-based company called 1st Makerspace that Lake Hills had been named a "STEM  Star" and would be receiving one of the company's STEAM Engine 3D Printers. The company would deliver, set up, and provide supplies, maintenance and support for the equipment for a year -- a donation in excess of $2,600.
 
The catch? No catch. 
 
"We all appreciate your dedication to STEM education and the investment you have made to become leaders in this critical area," said 1st Makerspace President Kim Brand in the email notifying Mrs. Bachmann of the award. "This is a reward for your exemplary efforts in STEM education."

Lake Hills was one of only three elementary schools in the state to receive this award and donation from 1st Makerspace (the other two are in Bloomington and Indianapolis). The company identified Lake Hills as a leader in STEM education after discussing the school's accomplishments with the Indiana Department of Education. Lake Hills is among the first in the state to receive official STEM School certification, a designation they earned in 2015.

On January 24, 1st Makerspace VP of Operations Adam Brand and Technical Support Specialist Grant Michel visited Lake Hills to train several teachers, principal Bachmann, and STEM Specialist Shelley Deutscher on their new device. At the last minute, two sixth graders (Dawson Grott and Wyatt Sonnenberg) joined the training session, as staff realized their outstanding engineering and computer skills would come in very handy in training others.

Brand told the group that 1st Makerspace is an education, service, and technology company that aims to bring "shop class" back... with a 21st century twist. The 3D printer introduces students to additive manufacturing, he said. "When you machine something you remove material, but when you 3D print you are adding material."

Michel took the Lake Hills team through the process of 3D printing a hinged "chip clip" to test their new machine. First, they downloaded a design on thingaverse.com, then they calibrated and threaded the printer (which uses spools of plastic filament), and finally they printed the clip in 3D. All who attended were excited about the things they could now create with the new 3D printer!