Clairton students sharpen skills with new 3-D printer
Clairton students are sharpening their math and science skills in the middle/high school art room with a new three-dimensional printer.
The New York-based MakerBot, a global leader in manufacturing desktop 3-D printers, offered its Relipcator machines at a discounted rate to teachers who registered online at DonorsChoose.org.
Each teacher was challenged to generate $2,000 in donations for the $2,500 machine to become part of his or her classroom.
“They wanted to provide a chance for every school within the United States to be equipped with one,” Clairton art teacher Joel Panach said. “I didn't expect it to happen so quick. When I put up the request, an anonymous donor gave half. Then, I have a lot of friends donate money, and it went so fast.”
Panach's room, where students in seventh through 12th grade participate in digital and studio arts, is now home to the machine, which is being used to make spheres, bracelets and other classroom keepsakes.
The printer is able to build models of programmed 3-D images that have been scanned or otherwise transmitted to the machine. It heats plastic thread, similar to that of a hot glue gun, and mathematically constructs the models layer by layer.
“It's pretty awesome,” freshman Jeffrey McDonald said. “It's really cool having one here.”
Jeffrey used a three-dimensional printer and scanner at a Boys Scouts camp, where participants printed copies and original designs.
Students who excel in digital arts, such as Jeffrey, soon will have more opportunities to hone their skills and prepare for post-secondary education in design-related fields.
“We're restructuring our entire art department,” Panach said.
A revised course schedule will allow for increasing skill level in studio arts, with drawing, painting and ceramics. The digital arts department will build creative software and computer-aided design skills.
“We'll be able to use all of the skills we use in (Adobe) Photoshop and translate it into basic CAD,” Panach said.
Digital arts courses give students an edge on math, science and engineering. Adding knowledge from those disciplines into something students view as an exciting hobby should boost their academic performance, Panach explained.
Principal Tom McCloskey said cross-curricular projects aren't new to Panach.
“He's been working with teachers in English and other subjects to come up with creative lessons,” principal Tom McCloskey said. “This printer is giving him a chance to work with our math teachers. It's an exciting new learning opportunity.”
Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1956, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Brass plaque stolen from McKeesport veterans memorial
- Jamie’s Dream Team founder says she will press on despite new illness
- McKeesport man sentenced to house arrest in armed robbery
- Tax break extension bill has goodies for Mon-Yough area
- McKeesport nonprofit, Youth Works ensure Allied Health students can continue training
- Businessman responds to Brewster shale tax proposal
- Polka musician ‘Mr. December’ bringing his fiddle to McKeesport lodge
- Elizabeth Township holds line on taxes
- North Versailles Township approves $6.79 million budget that keeps tax rates flat
- Elizabeth Forward marks 35th year of senior holiday breakfast
- Clairton students reference positive ‘Frozen’-themed lessons