Students in Amy Burks’ Gifted and Talented classes spend part of each day creating, designing, and printing using their laptops and 3D printers.

In November, the North Little Rock Public Education Foundation awarded a $1,000 grant to. Burks to purchase 3D printers for her classroom. Since then student learning has taken off in a whole new direction.

“We realize that employers are looking for students who understand computer design and are able to collaborate as a group,” Burks said. “With that in mind I decided that we needed to add a little something different to our lessons.”

Students in fourth and fifth grade are learning Tinkercad, which is a simple online 3D design and 3D printing tool. Students design an object in the computer program and upload it to the 3D printer. Their imagination and creativity can really be seen by using technology. Students also prepared and are presenting a Power Point slide show to every classroom in the school, teaching about and demonstrating the printers.

The students’ favorite part is at the end when they give each child a 3D printed object to keep. Burks and Emily Johnson, the school’s media specialist, are currently taking applications to join an after school 3D club.

“Even though the grant was for my gifted and talented classroom we are trying to find as many ways as possible to share this technology with other students, Burks said.

Johnson added that the 3D printing experience brought something different to the students.

“I’ve noticed that we have a lot of students that excel in problem solving and engineering during our Maker Space activities in the library,”Johnson said. “We want to find these students and encourage them to continue with these talents.”