ICJA freshmen and seniors enrolled in two STEM courses are using the latest technology to learn both two-dimensional and three-dimensional printing. The MakerSpace courses take place in our state-of-the-art science labs, where students have access to a Cricut 2D printer that cuts through materials like nylon, fabric, paper and thin wood and a 3D printer that creates small objects based on digital designs.

Rabbi Binyomin Segal, who teaches the senior course, says that the course is loosely based on a similar course at Lane Tech. ICJA is the only Jewish high school in Chicago offering a MakerSpace lab. During first quarter for the classes, students focused on learning the software for the two printers. The first step was to focus on the Cricut because it is based on two dimensional designs. Students can create any photo in software and then the machine cuts it with exact designs. The first assignment on the machine was to decorate storage boxes that the students will use in the course.

The software for the Cricut was a springboard for the more complicated software for the 3D printer. Students have learned to use vector graphics using  Adobe draw on the iPad and now are using CAD three dimensional graphics. To learn how to use the 3D printer, the students worked through a tutorial to build a small part out of blue plastic. One student built a small snowman, and another built a cup for Dr. Green–our director of 21C learning. Next quarter, the students will be focusing on more complicated projects of their own choice.

Senior Siva Albom, says, “It’s really fun and allows us to learn how to use technology and be creative at the same time.”

The technology for the new STEM courses were purchased thanks to a George Shay z”l Endowment for Excellence in Academic Arts and Sciences.