Wouldn’t it be great to imagine an item in your head, then build it with a 3D printer? For students in Mrs. Donna Chastang’s STEM class, that’s just another day at Harshman Magnet Middle School!

Mrs. Chastang’s students spend a semester exploring the many areas of study linked to STEM. They complete projects linked to electricity, robotics and programming, but it’s hard to compete with the excitement of the 3D printer! Students learn to use a program called Inventor to bring their ideas to life. There’s more to the project than just the printing, though – each scholar must go through the complete design process.

“That means determining a purpose for your item, deciding whether it’s a ‘want’ or a ‘need,’ creating a scale drawing, and using a digital caliper to get precise measurements if necessary,” said Mrs. Chastang.

Students can keep it simple, or go as complex as they’d like with their 3D creation. One of this semester’s STEM scholars is creating his own iPhone case!

“It takes a lot of measuring and it’s hard to get everything exactly where it needs to be, but Mrs. Chastang helps us work through any trouble we have,” said Christian A. as he worked to perfect his phone case design. Christian added he’s excited to create something in class that he’ll actually use later.

After the planning and design comes the fun part – the printing! Students gather around the printer to watch their creations come to life, but the process can take several hours. The patience pays off when students are able to show off their hard work with a new ring, pencil box or another creation from the printer.

The STEM class will continue the semester by building transistors and robots and then moving on to computer programming. We’re excited to see continued success from these dedicated students!