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Mill Creek Makers - Making a Difference

Beth Smith

I am requesting funding to purchase a 3D printer and filament for my elective class, “Mill Creek Makers”. My goal with this grant is to teach students the Engineering and Design Process through real-life problem-solving within the Dexter community and to a broader audience of individuals with disabilities needing assistive devices.

Resources:
***Shared via emailed links.***
- What is assistive technology?
- Makers Making Change
- Assistive Device Examples
- Prusa MK4 Website Link
- Polar Filament


Project Summary:
The goal of this project is to leverage the capabilities of 3D printing technology to design, develop, and manufacture assistive devices for individuals with disabilities or physical restrictions. Assistive devices can range from adaptive tools for daily living, mobility, communication, and more. Through the use of 3D printing technology, customization of these assistive devices can be produced easily and efficiently in the classroom.

It is my goal to teach my “Mill Creek Makers” students how to work through the Engineering and Design Process to create 3D-printed assistive devices for those within their local community and beyond. Through collaboration with local community members (physical therapists at Care2Cure, occupational therapists, senior citizens, etc.) students will identify a need, design, and create (3D print) a device that will allow those with disabilities to do daily activities with greater ease or less discomfort. Students will be encouraged to begin by identifying possible problems their family members/elderly are having. In addition, I have the goal of collaborating with a local physical therapist at Care2Cure PT to identify specific patient needs that can be solved with 3D-printed devices. I hope to arrange for students to hear case studies and possibly even tour the PT facilities to strengthen the connection between our community and those individuals students create devices for.

Objectives:

- Learn 3D printing techniques while working through the Engineering and Design Process.

- Partner with local community members (physical therapists at Care2Cure, occupational therapists, senior citizens, etc.) to identify specific assistive device needs.

- Design and create personalized 3D-printed assistive devices to improve the daily lives of those with disabilities or physical restrictions.

- Instill empathy, empowerment, and a sense of community to Mill Creek Makers. Allowing them to see that even at a young age, they can make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Expected Outcomes:

- Real-Life Problem Solving: “Mill Creek Maker” students will have the opportunity to learn about the real-life problems individuals in their local community are having while utilizing the Engineering and Design Process to build assistive devices to make life easier for those with disabilities or physical restrictions.

- Student Involvement/Empowerment: Students will feel empowered knowing that they can bring about positive change within another person’s daily life.

- Customized Assistive Devices: Individuals within our Dexter community, and beyond, will receive tailor-made assistive devices enhancing their quality of life and independence.

- Community Connection: Strengthen school-community relationships by having Mill Creek students design and build assistive devices for individuals within our community with disabilities or physical restrictions.

- Innovation in Assistive Technology: Students will be able to contribute to the ongoing development of assistive technology through their involvement in “Makers Making Change”.


Community Involvement: Connecting my students to the local community through the making of 3D assistive devices is an impactful educational opportunity. By taking part in this project students will not only gain problem-solving and 3D printing technological skills but will also develop a deeper understanding and empathy for those with disabilities and physical restrictions. My hope is that students will have the opportunity to interact directly with individuals with disabilities in our community and understand their unique needs and challenges. Through collaboration with local organizations, and those they serve, students will design and create custom assistive devices that will make a difference in someone's life. This hands-on opportunity will provide students with a strong sense of community engagement, empathy, inclusivity, and empowerment.

Conclusion: Through the support of the Educational Foundation of Dexter, Mill Creek students have the opportunity to make a significant impact on the lives of those with disabilities or physical restrictions through the use of 3D printing technology.

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