Lakeshore Elementary fifth graders led a group project to create a 3-D prosthetic hand for Lakeshore first grader, Joshua Shanks. Shanks was born without a left hand but he doesn’t allow that to stop him from completing everyday tasks.

At the beginning of the school year Carolyn Winters, Lakeshore Elementary Instructional Technology teacher, purchased a 3-D printer through her Donor’s Choose project. Donor’s Choose is a nonprofit organization that takes donations to supply classrooms with tools so teachers can provide students with unique education experiences.

Winters assigned a class group project to research a 3-D company and make a presentation to share with their classmates. The second part of the project was to form their own company, come up with a name, logo, and a 3-D printed invention that could solve a real world problem. Winters believed the project would give the students an opportunity to use the 3-D printer but she had no idea that the students would use the machine to positively impact their peer.

The idea to print a 3-D prosthetic hand for Shanks originally came from fifth grader Mehkhi Blue. After proposing the idea to his group, they quickly jumped on board to create something special for Shanks. The group of students worked with Shanks to determine the size and colors of the hand. He chose Spiderman.

“This project got my students excited about learning,” Winters said. “I made sure the students finished all their other class work before coming to the lab to work on the hand. It really motivated them to work harder in their other classes so they could finish the hand.”

After three months of research, troubleshooting, designing and determining which products they needed to print the hand, the students successfully completed their 3-D printing project. The students presented Shanks with a brand new Spiderman themed 3-D prosthetic hand.

The other students involved in this project were fifth graders, Ileana Chavez, Carson Haley, Nathan Aceves, Ashlee Rogers, and CJ Patterson. Kevin Nguyen from Quest Early College High School also worked with the students during this project.

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