What I Learned at Summer Camp: 3D Printing
It’s never too early to teach children skills that could lead to a potential career. This summer, a local program is looking to groom the next generation of engineers.
In the middle of the summer, most schools are empty. But at Oak View Elementary in Maple Grove, class is in full session, thanks to the Osseo School District’s “Camp Rocks.”
“It’s fun and it’s a really good learning experience,” said Julianna Frabel, an 11-year-old student.
However, Camp Rocks offered one particular class that’s a little more high tech than what you’d normally see here.
“Basically we teach the kids about 3D printing,” said Jocie Zenner, an engineering teacher. “We teach them how to go from a solid 3D model on the computer to actually holding that object in your hand.”
Zenner is a teacher with Engineering for Kids. Her hope is that by introducing these students to engineering technology at a young age, that it will spark an interest in the field.
“The world has a lot of problems that can be solved. We just need the engineers to do that,” she said.
The mission on a recent Wednesday was for the students to build a bridge using toothpicks and a specially-designed piece that comes directly from a 3D printer.
“We get to choose a part to 3D print onto it,” said Frabel. “That’s going to be the strongest part, where you put it around the center of mass, I guess.”
The goal is to construct the bridge in a way so that it holds as much weight as possible. It may sound like a difficult task, but Zenner says anyone can do this, even without any prior engineering experience.
“Absolutely, yes,” Zenner said. “We start with what shapes are the strongest. What types of materials are strong. How can we attach things. We start at the very basic fundamentals, and then we kind of work our way up.”
By the end of the four-day camp, the students not only know more about engineering, they’re also introduced to a world of possibilities.
“I’m surprised every day by what they come up with and how creative they can be,” Zenner said. “So I love the kids and teaching them that.”