JMPHS students learn 3D printer software

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James Madison Preparatory High School added an IT and Engineering program to the curriculum this year through the Florida IT Career Alliance to promote computer science, information technology and engineering programs within their school. Last semester, the students learned code and used coding to build and operate robots. So far this semester the students have learned to use Autodesk Inventor, a software used for creating 3D digital prototypes. Once the students complete the course they are able to take a class to be industry level certified in the program. Six students are already certified. Next nine weeks, the students will work with robots again and use the 3D printer to create parts to improve their robots. Ninth grader Jacob Adams was the first student in the class to become qualified in the program. Prior to starting the class, he was interested in engineering but now that he has taken the class, he is confident he wants to become an engineer. One thing that Adams learned in class that really stands out to him is, “I didn’t know you could do so much with a 3D printer.” He learned that someone had built a car with a 3D printer. He was not in the class when they worked with robots before so he is really looking forward to it. Tenth grader Jimmy Durst went into the class wanting to become an engineer and while he does love engineering, he thinks it will be more of a hobby than a career. When there was something wrong with the spool support on the 3D printer, Principal Demetrius Rice asked Durst to design a new and improved support. Durst was able to get exact measurements using a caliber, and design a support that was bigger and would not allow the spool to move around. It took Durst two days to design the new support and he loved that Principal Rice asked him to design it. “It showed that he respected me and respected that I could work on something without his help,” said Durst. Durst enjoyed the satisfaction of overcoming an obstacle in class. He enjoyed figuring out what was wrong and finding a solution. Tenth grader, Tyler Gilbert, is considering engineering as a career. After using the software for the 3D printer he said, “It makes me feel like I can make something new. If there is a part not out there, then I can make it.” He transferred to James Madison Preparatory High School at the end of the second nine weeks so he did not get to work with the robots much and is really looking forward to that. Tenth grader Courtney Wilder has always been interested in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) field but had never settled on a specific job until taking this class. She would like to go into the mechanical or aeronautical engineering field. Now that she is certified in Autodesk Inventor, she is looking forward to the practical application of the program. She loves that, with the program, you literally can make a solution to the problem.