Pre-K students in Hudson look on in excitement as a 3D printer begins a project

Earlier this year, Questar III BOCES received a Helping Kids Mini-Grant from AASA, The School Superintendents Association, for our Early Childhood Education (Pre-K) programs. The grant, funded by AASA and supported by its government cooperative procurement partner, Sourcewell, was used to purchase innovative equipment for our classrooms, 3D printers.

A student casts her vote on the smartboard.

3D printers are used today to create prototypes and useful items for various industries, including healthcare, architecture, construction, automotive, and more. The printed items are also used for home décor, jewelry, fashion, and novelty items. While we are just breaking the surface of how this newly accessible technology can be utilized, we understand the importance of our students learning how it works, including our youngest learners in Pre-K.

While four and five year old students aren’t printing prosthetics or manufacturing tools, they are learning how to print items such as spinning tops, fish fossil toys, and z-rex dinosaurs. Questar III BOCES Pre-K teacher Larissa Johnson recently held a lesson with her students at Montgomery C. Smith Elementary School in the Hudson City School District.

Students color in a bar graph that coincides with the voting results.

Before printing even began, students completed several tasks, including deciding individually which toy to create, using the smartboard to cast their vote, coloring in a bar graph to match the votes, and more. This process allowed them to work on fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, decision-making, voting processes, and graph interpretation. These are all skills that help develop their critical thinking, basic math concepts, independence, collaboration, and more. Larissa shared that in the future, they will be incorporating the 3D printer into a community service project for the nearby Firemen’s Home, another great learning opportunity for students.

With the grant awarded by AASA, Questar III BOCES acquired two 3D printers that will be shared across all our Pre-K programs. Thank you to AASA for awarding us this grant and supporting our students!

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