WEST ORANGE, NJ — Edison and Liberty middle schools were notified May 10 that they have each received $4,450 Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grants, to be used for the purchase of 3D printers for the Makerspace in each library media center, including a Makerbot 3D Education Bundle and additional filament. The printers will be used to promote science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics education across the curricula, incorporating the Next Generation Science Standards and the design process.
With the help of West Orange supervisor of career education and library science Nancy Mullin, Edison library media specialist Sandy Bocchese and Liberty library media specialist Lisa Touzeau developed 3D Makerspace Project proposals and applied for the grants to Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation.
“Our mission is to expand our STEAM offerings to students through the development of a Makerspace in our media centers,” a portion from the two grant proposals reads. “Students will be provided with the opportunity to explore a variety of 2D concepts in a 3D inquiry-based environment. In collaboration with our STEAM teachers, students will solve problems using the design process.
“Part of their exploration will be tinkering with software, which allows them to view the world in the 3D platform,” it continues. “The 3D printer will allow students to print their designs and problem-solve once they see their prototypes. In the classroom students will conceptualize their designs and in the Makerspace make adjustments to that concept in order to successfully print.
“We will also be running a MakerSpace family event, which will include the use of the printer to introduce this new technology to parents and members of the community,” it concludes. “The project will mean that our school will have students that become inventors and designers using this cutting-edge technology to create instead of consume. It will also help our school to also engage reluctant learners, create responsible digital citizens and build school comradely as students work in collaborative groups.”
Mullin said she was proud of Touzeau and Bochese for their dedication to West Orange students and she congratulated them on winning the grants.
“As we obtain 3D printers in our media centers through various means, we are providing the students of West Orange with the ability to research, explore, design and create what is limited only by their imaginations,” Mullin said. “We are preparing our students for their future careers in which they will be able to solve problems and compete on a global level. The talent of our students at each grade level never ceases to amaze me and I applaud Ms. Touzeau and Ms. Bochese for seeking out this funding opportunity for their students and taking the time to apply for the grants.”