For students interested in engineering, design, and technology, it is an exciting time to be at Bethany. While technology education principles have already been integrated into class curriculum, this year marks the first time that 3-D printing is available for students to learn and practice in many of these classes.
Benji Hurst teaches the technology curriculum at all grade levels. Fourth and fifth graders begin with Digi Comm, an introductory course to online communication. Students learn responsible computer use and basic design principles, as well as keyboarding skills.
The seventh grade Tech Ed class builds on these design principles but gets more advanced as students are introduced to engineering basics and how to create projects on their own. They learn in a program where they can build 3-D printed designs and, as of this year, actually produce their projects.
“These classes give students the opportunity to take the things they’re learning in their math and science courses and build upon that to solve real-world problems,” said Benji.
At the end of the semester this year, seventh grade students designed and printed their own 3-D Christmas trees. They were designed in such a way that when a small light is inserted, it shines through—as if their Christmas trees are lit up.
“These projects allow students to add an element of creativity into their designs, along with the academic principles they need to know to have a successful project,” said Benji.
High school class offerings include Intro to Engineering, Data Science, and Intro to Computer Science. These classes develop and build skills such as coding, data visualization, programming, and 3-D printed modeling.
Projects, especially in the Intro to Engineering class, are centered around real-world application. Students have worked with Maintenance Director Brent Miller to design and print mechanical pieces to fix broken equipment around the school.
“Students also develop resiliency, as they learn that the first iteration of a design won’t always be exactly like the final product,” said Benji. “They have to get creative in finding a solution.”