HMS students explore new possibilities

A Hillsboro Middle School student works with the 3D CAD program.

A Hillsboro Middle School student works with the 3D CAD program.

Hillsboro Middle School is providing students the opportunity to explore new possibilities by offering Project Lead the Way, a project based STEM experience where the students interact with each other to develop solutions to life-like problems.

In the Design and Modeling (DM) class students learn the basics in Autodesk Inventor, a 3D CAD program that allows them to create objects on the computer. The DM class has recently acquired a 3D printer which will allow the students to really experience their designs by printing them out.

So far, the 3D printer has been busy making educational resources to aid in the students’ learning experience and make the learning experience more hands-on. There have already been requests to make parts that will fix or replace old parts that have been worn out or broken. This new technology will give the students the opportunity to be part of a solution while gaining valuable skills in computer aided design. It will be exciting to see what kinds of things the innovative minds of Hillsboro will create with this new tool.

In other areas of the Hillsboro Middle School STEM program students are gearing up to show off their robots at the River Valley Middle School Tournament on Dec. 5. Hillsboro has seven teams that will be competing in the tournament. Each team will use their bot in the “Nothing But Net” challenge where they have to toss balls into goals in order to outscore their opponent. Teams are hoping that the modifications they have made to their robots after the first competition will gain them a spot at the 2016 State of Ohio VEX Championships in March. With these types of opportunities provided to HMS students it will be exciting to see what they can achieve.

“I am very excited to see these advanced learning offerings continue to unfold in the classrooms across the district,” said HCS Technology Supervisor Eric Hennison. “We purchased a 3D printer for the high school lab last year and are excited to see the middle school program jump onboard as well with their own purchase. We are building on that with the purchase of a 3D digitizer (a three dimensional scanner), and are working on several ideas in conjunction with the high school art, middle school DM, and high school industrial tech classes. We are envisioning cross-disciplinary projects where art classes will illustrate designs/ideas, student sculptors can then sculpt scale models stemming from the designs, students in the PLTW labs will make modifications and customizations in the CAD software, and the final products can be printed on the 3D printers or built in our Industrial Arts shops for a variety of outcomes.

“The classroom instructors, building administration, and I all feel that these types of real world workflows will build excitement and engagement in the learning process for our students. These cooperative skills will only further help them to succeed as they enter the workforce, and the collaborative demands of 21st century careers.”

Submitted by Anthony Amore, Hillsboro City Schools Lead The Way teacher.

A Hillsboro Middle School student works with the 3D CAD program. Hillsboro Middle School student works with the 3D CAD program.