Leah LaCrosse, the McCormick Junior High science teacher, has been teaching students how to use 3D printers in her class for the last five years. She has had students create pieces and parts for science experiments and print adaptive devices to help students with disabilities. Will Kastor, an 8th grade student, even started a kazoo club so he could 3D print kazoos.
LaCrosse said that since the school has been teaching 3D printing, the interest in STEM careers has noticeably increased.
“I have been teaching for 23 years and in the last 5 years there has been an increase in interest in computer science, coding and other manufacturing sciences.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, LaCrosse realized that she and her students could use these skills to help medical professionals. LaCrosse, Will Kastor and Huron High School senior Nick Walsh have collectively printed and donated around 180 protective shield masks and more than 400 mask tighteners to local and Cleveland area medical centers.
LaCrosse said that through 3D printing, she wants her students to learn that they can be problem solvers, especially in these times.
“If they see problems around them and they can see that they have the skills to solve them, 3D printing is just another tool to do that.”
For Will Kastor, this experience has sparked a greater interest that he plans to carry through his career. He hopes one day to be an engineer for NASA. Right now, he is focusing on 3D printing masks and baby Yoda statues.