by DeLaSalle | | Headlines

DeLaSalle students can be more innovative in exploring the world around them, thanks to a grant that helped the school purchase a new 3D printer.

DeLaSalle applied for and received a STEM grant from the Minnesota Independent School Forum (MISF) to pay for the three-dimensional printer. School officials will receive the grant at an April 30 MISF awards ceremony at the University of St. Thomas. MISF is the largest consortium of private and independent schools in Minnesota, providing support to its member schools through programs, services and resources.

The 3D printer provides more creativity than the two-dimensional printing that most people are familiar with in their home or office. Following a design that is loaded onto the device, the printer uses a ribbon to create multiple tiny layers out of plastic that mold together to form the desired shape. (Click here to learn more about how 3D printers work).

“Our students need access to 21st century technology in order to develop college-ready skills,” said Science teacher and Robotics Team Coach,dam Wolfe, who led the effort to research and buy the printer. “Using a 3D printer can enrich learning for all students because it allows our students to use critical thinking, spatial reasoning, and the elements of design to solve real world problems.”

Students in Wolfe’s Principles of Engineering class recently created miniature catapults with the printer that they then tested for throwing accuracy and precision.

The printer can be used in more than just science or engineering classes. For example, students in Social Studies classes can model historical buildings or landscapes. Band students can design and even make a musical instrument. And Health students can assemble 3D printed skeleton parts to learn about the mechanics of joints, tendons, and muscles.

“As teachers, we are developing lesson plans that will intrinsically motivate students to want to learn more by changing the way in which we are teaching,” Wolfe said. “The 3D printer will be used to teach concepts in a more engaging and kinesthetic way.”