WEST ORANGE, NJ – Edison and Liberty Middle Schools (EMS and LMS) each have received a $4,450 Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant to be used for the purchase of 3D printers for the Makerspace in each school’s media center, including a Makerbot 3D Education Bundle and additional filament. 

According to the school district, the printers will be used to promote STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) across the curricula, incorporating the Next Generation Science Standards and the design process.

With the help of Supervisor of Career Education and Library Science Nancy Mullin, Edison Library Media Specialist Sandy Bocchese and LMS Specialist Lisa Touzeau developed 3D Makerspace Project proposals and applied for the grants to Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation.

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According to Laura Flemming of the Worlds of Making, a school makerspace is "a place where young people have an opportunity to explore their own interests; learn to use tools and materials, both physical and virtual; and develop creative projects."

“As their supervisor, I am extremely proud of Lisa Touzeau's and Sandy Bochese's dedication to the students of West Orange and our media program and congratulate them on winning the grants,” said Mullin. “As we obtain 3D printers in our media centers through various means, we are providing the students of West Orange with the ability to research, explore, design and create what is limited only by their imaginations. We are preparing our students for their future careers in which they will be able to solve problems and compete on a global level.”

Adding that the talent West Orange students at each grade level will never cease to amaze her, Mullin also applaud Touzeau and Bochese for seeking out this funding opportunity for their students and taking the time to apply for the grants.

A portion of the two grant proposals reads as follows:

“Our mission is to expand our STEAM offerings to students through the development of a Makerspace in our media centers. Students will be provided with the opportunity to explore a variety of 2D concepts in a 3D inquiry based environment. In collaboration with our STEAM teachers, students will solve problems using the design process.

“Part of their exploration will be tinkering with software which allows them to view the world in the 3D platform. The 3D printer will allow students to print their designs and problem solve once they see their prototypes. In the classroom students will conceptualize their designs and in the Makerspace make adjustments to that concept in order to successfully print.

“We will also be running a MakerSpace family event, which will include the use of the printer to introduce this new technology to parents and members of the community. The project will mean that our school will have students that become inventors and designers using this cutting edge technology to create instead of consume. It will also help our school to also engage reluctant learners, create responsible digital citizens, and build school comradely as students work in collaborative groups."

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