FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Humming in the background of James Gary's classroom at Bondurant Middle School is the sound of a 3D printer. The students in his year-long class are keeping the printers busy, and they are doing it for a cause greater than themselves.
"They were really itching to make something, and they're making some really cool stuff," James Gary, a STEM teacher at the school, said.
Virtual for most of the year, they hit the ground running when they got back into the classroom in March. Since then, they have been working on these unique design projects to solve real-life problems.
Gary said, "We've got one project we've been doing for our school resource officer."
Seventh-grader Kaylee Dews has been one of the kids on that project mass-producing ladders for antique Tonka trucks. Along with a team, she re-engineered the ladder on a 3D design program, printed them, and now those toys will go to kids who have lost everything in floods and fires.
"It makes me feel really nice. I hope they do go to kids who really miss their toys, and I hope it makes them feel better," Kaylee said.
These middle schoolers have also made cookie cutters for the agriculture class to make homemade dog treats, created a clip for a feeding tube to keep it from spilling, and 8th graders Jon Grigsby and Trey Harrell are part of another group working on a prosthetic leg for a chicken.
Trey Harrell said, "We had some ideas in our heads, and we started jotting them down with a few other people that are also working on this. We ended up coming up with a lot of different designs."
They are still tweaking the design, which is all part of the process, and they are hopeful their work could go on and eventually help someone else.
All the while, they are keeping those 3D printers busy, and Mr. Gary is happy to see the kids back in action inside the classroom.
"It's really fun to sit back and watch these groups of students work together and solve a problem like that. It's really neat," Gary said.