Elementary students impress judges in 3D Design Challenge
Posted on 06/06/2018
Finalists Present Their 3D Prototypes at School Board MeetingPWCS elementary school students took 3D printing to a whole new level in this school year’s division-wide 3D design challenge. A team of fourth graders from Coles Elementary came out on top.

Students chose from several challenges, based on fourth and fifth grade science curriculum, that tasked them with creating a prototype or model that could be printed out on a 3D printer. Over the course of several months, with the support of instructional technology coaches (ITCs), STEM teachers, librarians, and gifted education teachers, nearly 2000 students worked on their designs. The budding designers used Tinkercad, a kid-friendly online 3D design and printing app. Tinkercad partnered with PWCS for judging and feedback.

In the end, 16 elementary schools sent their top two designs to be judged at the county level for creativity, appearance, and practicality. From those, six designs were sent on to Tinkercad, whose judges selected the top place PWCS 3D design — a cat with eyes that light up and a bonus compartment for storing cat treats. The winning prototype was designed by Coles Elementary fourth graders Rowan Godsiff, Brady Kline, and Bobby Ortiz.

“It was challenging and hard and frustrating at times, but it was fun,” noted team member Rowan.

Team member Brady added, “It was hard to line everything up to make it all equal, but I’m very proud of our design.”

The team members are all part of the Technology Club at Coles, led by teacher Ramona Richardson.

“It was exciting to watch our students overcome some initial challenges with learning the software and produce original, creative designs that were 3D printed,” Richardson said.

Other finalists include:

• From Coles Elementary, Bennett Di'carlo, who chose the working electrical object challenge, and created a pyramid lamp with a lid that can be removed.

• From Marshall Elementary, 5th grader Natalie Masters, who designed a playground that shows kinetic and potential energy.

• From Mountain View Elementary, 4th graders Liam Bunner and Nico Moritz who researched and found that even with their shells, some endangered turtles are being eaten by predators. They designed a more protective turtle shell.

• From Springwoods Elementary, 5th grader Logan Gardiner, who looked at the characteristics of Mars, and designed the Mars Expedition Unit to help humans survive on the planet.

• From Victory Elementary, 5th grader Hailey Gunn, in a challenge to help injured animals, designed a bird hospital to give birds a place to nest and rest.

Jennifer Roberts is the ITC at Piney Branch where they have been using Tinkercad for two years. "We thought that having that real-life connection that an industry partner brings would be motivating to the students and teachers," said Roberts. “This was our first year doing it district-wide, so there are opportunities for refinement next year.”

The six finalists presented their prototypes at a School Board meeting in May. The Coles winning team received Tinkercad Backpacks and all finalists were given Tinkercad t-shirts.

Watch Tinkercad announce 3D Design Challenge Winner: