Makerspaces Bring Ideas to Life
Monday, April 25, 2016

On Thursday, April 21st, the Lincoln-Way Central Makerspace held a demonstration for students to show the use of a 3D printer. "Makerspace" is relatively new term designated for the area in media centers where students create, invent, and learn within their schools. Activity options range from DIY craft projects to software and electronics. Districts 210's media centers have been working toward incorporating activities so that students can come together, allow their creativity to thrive, and strengthen their STEM education.

Sarah Highfill, Science Department Chair at Lincoln-Way Central, said, "I am excited that Lincoln-Way is providing opportunities for students to show their creative side while being a bit techy. We need curiosity to drive any new inventions, and our students need to know that these possibilities can come from themselves."

Media Center Specialist Aileen Koesche and Library Assistant Nancy Sargis collaborated with teacher Dan Mulconrey from the Science Department for a Traveling Makerspace activity in the library. Mulconrey demonstrated the use of a 3D printer for interested students as Lincoln-Way Central's first Makerspace activity. Two students highlighted their progression through these CAD based programs and helped lead the discussion. Senior Tom Barkauski, a student in Engineering Physics and CAD classes, showed how to self-design his dog tag. After previously seeing the program and 3D printer in Mulconrey's class, freshman Benham Shamsaddin took great interest in learning more; he led the discussion of how to manipulate TinkerCard, a 3D design tool.

After learning from their fellow students' presentations, the observers were able to explore CAD websites as resources for utilizing the 3D printer, allowing STEM ideas to take off.

The 3D printer was purchased through donations to the Lincoln-Way Foundation. Outside of the Makerspace, the printer has been incorporated in Honors Biology, Biology, Honors Chemistry, Chemistry, Engineering, Physics, and CAD classes. Mulconrey says that he's "thankful for the Lincoln-Way Foundation and its valued commitment to extending opportunities for our students."