Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation Awarded Grant From Boeing to Expand Middle School STEM Program with 3D Printing Tools


Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation Awarded Grant From Boeing to Expand Middle School STEM Program with 3D Printing Tools

The Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation (OPSF) was awarded a $50,000 grant from The Boeing Company to expand a program that will further science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) studies in middle schools by providing 3-D printing capabilities – helping to foster the next generation of innovators.

Students will learn 3D Modeling with “TinkerCADTM”, a free, cloud-based modeling program. Together with the 3D printers and spools of plastic provided through this grant, students in the third course of the STEM track will use existing EV3 robotics kits in their classrooms to design, prototype, test, evaluate, and redesign solutions for a variety of problem scenarios created around the key elements of the Florida Curriculum Frameworks.

“Providing 3D printing capabilities to local students gives them the ability see their projects go from the model stage to the production of that model,” said Hank Sanders, Boeing director of Special Operations Forces Programs and Aircraft Modernization & Sustainment. “This creates both excitement and a better understanding of the design process while giving them hands-on experience from conception to creation.”

The Project-Based Learning (PBL) lessons for the program will be developed by a team of middle school teachers, led by a district Career & Technical Education Specialist, Mr. David Johnson. The PBL lesson objectives will be developed around the Florida Department of Education Curriculum Frameworks' Seven Main Areas of Technology; Manufacturing, Construction, Communication, Transportation, Agriculture, Medical, and Energy & Power. Project lessons will be designed to engage student interest, excitement, and participation and to increase their knowledge of the broad spectrum of STEM-related occupations in the seven main areas of technology.

“Industry representatives continuously tell us that we must develop Problem-Solvers,” says Mr. Marcus Chambers, Okaloosa County School District Superintendent. “Any problem that an engineer might face has many correct solutions. Learning to apply critical thinking, analysis, evaluation and data collection, and using proven methodologies ensures that tomorrow’s engineers will always find the right solution. The right solution has to balance many factors; function, cost, manufacturability, aesthetics, environmental factors, and more.”

Students in the third course of the middle school STEM track will be able to earn the Digital Tools Certificate for Rapid Prototyping & 3-D Design. This certificate will mark the beginning of their journey toward a career path that leads to many exciting and well-compensated jobs in Engineering, Advanced Manufacturing, A&P (Air Frame & Power Plants), and many other high skill high wage areas.

This grant was made possible due to the hard work of David Johnson, Teacher on Special Assignment, STEM; Debbie Tate, OPSF; and Melissa O'Malley, Finance.

About Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation (OPSF):

The OPSF is a not-for-profit community-based public schools foundation.  It is a partnership between families, schools, community, and business.  The Foundation is dedicated to supporting and extending the educational opportunities of all individuals within Okaloosa County. Since its establishment in 1995, OPSF has funded educational enrichment programs including teacher grants for unique programs, student scholars in the Take Stock in Children Program, community educational initiatives, and student and teacher recognition awards. For more information about Take Stock in Children and the Okaloosa Public Schools Foundation, visit www.OkaloosaSchools.com/OPSF.

About The Boeing Company:

The Boeing Company is the world's largest aerospace company and leading provider of commercial airplanes, defense, space and security systems, and global services. As the top U.S. exporter, the company supports commercial and government customers in more than 150 countries. Boeing employs more than 150,000 people worldwide and leverages the talents of a global supplier base. Building on a legacy of aerospace leadership, Boeing continues to lead in technology and innovation, deliver for its customers and invest in its people and future growth. For more information, visit www.boeing.com.