Case Study: Incorporating 3D Printers into High School STEM Education
| by MakerBot
About Brooklyn Tech
Brooklyn Technical High School is the largest high school for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the United States. Founded in 1922, Brooklyn Tech is a specialized public high school that admits students from all five boroughs of New York City. The student body is diverse, and 64% of students are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches. Brooklyn Tech follows Project Lead the Way’s Pathway to Engineering program and has been named a PLTW model school.
Brooklyn Tech strives to give its 5,500 students the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century, particularly in engineering, architecture, and related fields. To provide a strong STEM grounding, Brooklyn Tech must offer each of its students opportunities for hands-on learning. “Too often, we learn but we don’t apply what we learn,” says Dr. Mathew Mandery, a 1961 graduate and the chief educational officer of the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation. “You can’t learn to make things without making things.”
In 2012, Brooklyn Tech bought six MakerBot® Replicator® 2 Desktop 3D Printers and began to integrate 3D printing into its programs and into extracurricular activities like the robotics team. The Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation helped to support this investment in the future. “Brooklyn Tech wouldn’t be able to have the MakerBot Replicators without the support of the Alumni Foundation,” says the school’s principal, Randy Asher.
Earlier this year, Brooklyn Tech got four more 3D printers through the MakerBot AcademySM Educational Initiative, thanks to a campaign on DonorsChoose.org, a crowdfunding platform for public schools. Brooklyn Tech now has 17 MakerBot Replicators.
Design and Drawing for Production, a ninth-grade requirement, now includes an introduction to 3D printing. All 1,400 freshmen create a design in CAD software, prepare it for printing with MakerBot MakerWare®, and print it on a MakerBot Replicator. In the computer-integrated manufacturing lab, seniors make the same project twice, by cutting it out of a steel plate and by 3D printing it. “It’s more labor intensive on the CNC mill and CNC lathe, taking four to five days,” instructor Tom Curanovic says. “On the MakerBot, as long as you can draw it, it’s done in 45 minutes.”
Unlike the heavy machinery that Brooklyn Tech has used for decades, a MakerBot Replicator does not require extensive training and supervision. Moreover, it empowers students to experiment, fail, and learn from their mistakes — problem solving that goes far beyond engineering class.
The ease of 3D printing opens up the world of manufacturing to a wider range of students with varying learning styles. “There are students who are more verbal learners,” says Curanovic. “Some students are completely visual, and some of the students — now most of them, thanks to the MakerBot — are more tactile learners.”
To watch a video, go to mbot.co/brooklyn-tech-success.
MakerBot, a subsidiary of Stratasys Ltd. (Nasdaq: SSYS), is leading the Next Industrial Revolution by setting the standards in reliable and affordable desktop 3D printing. Founded in 2009, MakerBot sells desktop 3D printers to innovative and industry-leading customers worldwide, including engineers, architects, designers, educators, and consumers.
MakerBot has been honored with many accolades, including Popular Mechanics’ “Overall Winner” for best 3D printer, Time’s “Best Inventions of 2012,” Popular Mechanics’ “Editor’s Choice Award,” Popular Science’s “Product of the Year,” and Fast Company’s “One of the World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Consumer Electronics.”
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