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Weston Science Scholars Learn Unexpected Lessons in 3D Printing Class

Posted in: 3D printing, Classes, Young Entrepreneurs

Girls in Weston Science Scholars lab
From left, Tasnim Quayum, Maya Joyce, Catie Stanton and Aneekah Uddin examine 3D prints made in the class.

The biggest lesson to come from a 5-week summer course in 3D printing might have been “expect the unexpected,” according to Montclair High School students who took the class as part of the Weston Science Scholars Program.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen next,” said Tasnim Quayum, 14. “Most of our (high school) classes are planned out, but here we were surprised about what was going to happen next.”

Quayum, a sophomore, was one of 14 students at Montclair High School who took the 3D printing course with professors Iain Kerr and Jason Frasca. The students met for two hours each day as part of “an exploration to create new things, ideas, and novel paradigms the world has never seen before,” said Kerr. While the course description would have contained phrases about 3D printing and design thinking, there were deeper lessons being taught.

“The most important thing this course teaches us it to think in a way we don’t usually,” said Tegh Johar, 16, a junior, noting the instructors taught the students to “explore all the possibilities.”

Maya Joyce, a sophomore, liked how the students got to “mess around” with stuff as they learned to be more creative.

“Creativity didn’t come from ideas,” said Joyce, 15, who said what she learned could be applied to her love of music. “It’s more about doing, than thinking.”

One of the things the students did was create soap dishes. Then they needed to transform those creations into furniture. “To innovate you must start with something ordinary, such as a soap dish,” said Frasca, explaining the approach used in the class. “Then try to reveal all you can about the object. Think about why it was made, its purpose, aesthetics, etc. Then take what you learned about the object and block it. Ignore everything you learned about the object in order to create something new.”

Catie Stanton, 15, said the class helped her to see things differently. “We’re doing random, crazy stuff,” the sophomore said.

Joshua Rapoport, a 16-year-old junior, said the course gave him a new perspective on a so-called “good idea.”

“I was very surprised we were not supposed to have good ideas,” said Rapoport. “They’re irrelevant because they’ve almost certainly been thought of before.”

The students credited Kerr and Frasca with opening up their minds, as well as showing them how to design things with the 3D printers.

“(They) really taught us a new way of thinking. We discovered new paradigms and stuff—we learned what a paradigm was,” said Aneekah Uddin, 15, a sophomore. “I really enjoyed it.”