Sunday, February 16, 2014

"Let Us Create"....The Voice Our MakerBot 3D Printer Brought To One Student...And So Many More!

As a teacher and librarian, there have been many moments that make me love teaching and working with young people even more than the day before.  These moments bring happy, excitement, and continue to inspire me.  

I love it when we get to experience moments that bring even more of this than others.....those moments that you just want to bottle up forever.   

These moments include the voices of students. The moments when they create, collaborate, connect, teach, and advocate to have a voice in their own learning and education. The moments when you see passion and excitement in their faces.  The moments when they are happy and don't want to leave.  

In the last three weeks, there has been lot of curiosity, creativity, and inspiration in the air within the library.....and the constant voice of our students.  

Especially one. 
You see, about three weeks ago this somewhat small, rectangular black box with red letters on the side spelling out MakerBot found a home in our library.  This is responsible for this new voice that I have heard.  
In January when our DonorsChoose project Please Help Us Put A Makerbot 3D Printer In Our Library got funded by wonderful friends from around the country, I had something very special come along with the news.  

The voice.  

His name is Luke.  He is a sophomore at Van Meter.  I knew Luke before but it was more just passing in the hallway and seeing him in the library picking something out every now and then. 

I was walking back to the library on that day and there he was.  Luke had heard the news of the 3D printer.  He was talking super fast and asking me all kinds of questions about the MakerBot. Questions like...

"Is it the MakerBot Replicator 2? Or the new MakerBot Replicator 5th Generation? What colors of filament did you get? Will it come straight to the library to you?  When will it come?" 

And then there was this question...

"Do you think I could help you?  Could I take it out of the box?  Could I teach everyone how to use it? 

I knew why we were getting the 3D printer.  I heard it in Luke's voice that day.  
Later in the month, our MakerBot 3D printer was delivered to school.  I happened to see the box in the office and went to find Luke.  He was super excited and found someone to help him get it to the library. 

It was so fun seeing him walk through the door with the MakerBot....He was happy, proud, and of course just dying to get it out of that box. 
And when the others in the library saw the box, they couldn't wait to help too! 
Luke quickly read the MakerBot user manual.....well, I made him slow down and make sure he got it started correctly with all of the steps. 
Soon it was plugged in, 
 the filament was thread through the printer,
and our young people were ready to select something awesome to print.
The first thing we printed....A super cool bracelet.  It was really awesome being able to watch Luke and all of the kids in the library watching the MakerBot print something they picked off of the SD card with the printer.
Staci Braun's fourth graders had lots of questions and Luke did an amazing job explaining everything to them.  He loved being able to share his knowledge and passion for 3D printing with the younger students.
One of the fourth graders grabbed the iPad in the library to record Luke and the first thing being printed. 
They also had their iPads so were able to capture video and pictures individually too.  They couldn't wait to use these and write about the MakerBot on their Kidblogs. 
After the bracelet was finished, Aaron asked Luke if he could choose something to print.  There was a shark on the SD card that he picked out and watched being created.
 Aaron was thrilled to see what the MakerBot created for him.
After they printed several things from the SD card, Luke went into Thingiverse and started finding things to print too.  He did a lot of research and reading at home on his MacBook, so was ready when he came to school in the morning.
Luke started printing a variety of different objects. A dog....
a casket and mummy....
 an octopus (one of my favorites)....
 a big blue VM for Mr. Durflinger, our superintendent, and....
a basketball court and hoop for the younger ones to play in the library.  
Others within our school community were getting very involved with the MakerBot too.

Mr. Barck, our industrial technology teacher, comes into the library every day to see what is happening and being created.  Julia, who is an eighth grader and in one of his classes right now, is going to use Tinkercad to create something of her very own to print.

His classes will be coming in to use the printer when they want....and I know Chriss will be using it for himself as well.
I have created a PBL with our 5th graders incorporating the Winter Olympics and 3D printer. After they research the Olympics, they will be designing and creating new Olympic symbols to share with classmates and others.  

This is just the start of the grade level projects.  My goal is for each grade K-5 to be participate in a PBL project with the 3D printer and create something collaborative before the end of the school year. 
And as for Luke, his love for 3D printing is definitely growing as he learns, designs, and creates more and more each day.  

On Friday, he found this cute little octopus that holds SD cards.  This one took a few hours to print.  As it was printing, Luke and I decided to create a printing log in a Google Doc.  
By the end of the day, Luke had titled it "Let's Build With Luke" Printers Log and had all of the information set up in a table that he was going to collect for each build. 

It was very important for him to get pictures and video, so he made a space for those elements at the top.

And he had a GREAT idea for the video part....A true place for his voice to be heard!
Luke wanted to start a 3D printing show called Let's Build With Luke.  He will record a video or "Printers Log" for each build he creates using the MakerBot.

He is going to create a new YouTube Channel called Let's Build With Luke too.

The video above is the introduction to Let's Build With Luke.
And here is the first of many Printer's Log's Luke will record.
This is one of my favorite moments from the last seven years as the teacher librarian.

Not only is the 3D printer bringing so much to Luke, but Luke is bringing so much to all of us at Van Meter.  

He is going to make such an important impact as he learns more and more.....and as he helps me work with the classes and other individual students.  He is the expert and inspires all of us to learn along with him.  

I am happy he has this Makerspace in the library to be himself, to shine, 

and to have the voice to say...
We need to give these opportunities to all of the young people that we work with every single day.


  1. Now that is some awesome enthusiasm!!!! Love it!!!

  2. Beautiful article! I am waiting for my Makerbot to be delivered, also funded through A Donor Choose Project. One question, was there any problems with strong fumes when you were printing? If so, what did you do to solve that problem?

    1. Hi I am Luke form the article and the answer is no there is some but so little I barley notie it and I have a really sensitive noise. The only suggestion I have is put the blue masking tape on the build platform so that it is easer to remove the build after it finishes. you can see the tape underneath the red octopus in the picture above.

    2. Hi Kathleen....Thank you. :) And congrats on your Makerbot too. That is wonderful news.

      Thank you Luke for getting back to her.....I would agree with Luke. No smell. And YES, to the blue tape trick.


    3. Thanks to both of you! I can't wait for my printer to arrive. I also loved your the Symbaloo page you put together.

  3. This type of engagement has always been my dream as a library media coordinator - to have students who are so passionate and engaged in something they love that they can become a driving force in leading the engagement of others. In addition, these students set an example for others who will follow. As one media coordinator, it's difficult to cover all of the bases, and the game grows exponentially every year. I believe letting the students lead is the answer. You are doing an AMAZING job of creating and sharing opportunities to make this happen.

    1. Luke here. Why thank you for those lovely words. I believe that it is Shannon who is the key. She is so enthusiastic herself that people just want to match that enthusiasm.

    2. Thank you for your kind words.....Yes, I believe this is key is creating a culture anywhere. To be passionate, to believe, to have drive and enthusiasm. And to give our young people opportunities to let their voice be heard is the most important thing.

      I love working with Luke and all of the kids at our school. They are the amazing ones. :)

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  5. I think that it is wonderful that you were able to get Luke to find some library love by providing a new cool gadget to your patrons. How empowering for him to be the leader in the building with this technology. It sounds like fun!

  6. This looks great. We have printed the SD models and have tried to print things from Thingiverse and even design some 3D models ourselves using Autodesk 123D design. Each time we try printing something original, our build typically falls to pieces. Any advice on the settings to use when printing? What do you choose in Makerware after you select "Make It"?

    Also, Is there a way to determine the size of the print before hand?

  7. Thank you, Luke for being a leader in student-led learning and the maker movement. Thank you, Shannon for sharing and creating an environment for students like Luke to shine.

    What If you are both doing more for evolving education than either of you can possibly know. What if, you're creating the model for others to follow, both in creating greater collaborative learning experiences, and in bringing "maker" tools into libraries.

    I'm already a fan of Let's Build With Luke. Can't wait to tune in!

  8. I think these students set an example for others who will follow. As one media coordinator, it's difficult to cover all of the bases, and the game grows exponentially every year. I believe letting the students lead is the answer. and more that each time we try printing something original, our build typically falls to pieces. Any advice on the settings to use when printing?
    Regards: terrylleonn

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  11. Love this post and love this stuff it is really creative and unique i really appreciate you keep it up good to see kids are having fun with this machine. i was looking for Toner Cartridge for Printers for my HP color printer although i am using quit old version but it suits me and my job i am use too with my machine probably i am too much lazy to change my stuffs.