Mr. McInerny's 3D Challenge

EDIT 2: 

Stretch Goal:

I am increasing the goal amount to $2000. The additional funding will go towards a STEM family engagement and equity night for all families of 3rd grade students especially students of color.

The family engagement night will be centered around the engineering design process and the importance of developing 21st century skills in students (You can learn more about them here We will be joined by professionals who use CAD (computer aided design) programs and the engineering design process in their daily lives.

The money will be used to provide food, drinks, and transportation for families, as well as a gift of appreciation for our guest speakers.

EDIT: Great news, everyone! Clockwork ( has offered a matching grant. If we reach $1000.00 they will donate an additional $1000.00

Thank you, Clockwork!

Who Am I?

My name is Patrick McInerny and I am a 3rd grade teacher at Lake Nokomis Community School - Keewaydin Campus. My favorite pasttime as a young man was to build things: Remote control cars, models, fashioning tiny boats out of disued wine corks, ships and towns from Lego. My primary mode of expression was through creation. As a teacher I enjoying bringing my interests into the classroom, and our science lessons have served as a great entry point. 

I bought my first 3D printer about a year ago, it was a great novelty for home use, but it was not long until it migrated to my classroom. It took even less time before I had written the unit for Mr. McInerny's 3D Design Challenge. 

The Unit

Too often engineering and design challenges are contrived activities that are too far removed from their practical application. For my design challenges, students are paired with a school staff member (the client) and are presented with a real problem that needs solving. The Students then begin their journey through the engineering and design process. This starts with interviewing the client to gather any information that could impact their design. Students design, create a computer model of, and print their solution for the client. 

During the unit, students maintain communication with their client, updating them on progress, requesting additional information, and presenting models and prototypes for approval.

The Ask

Printer - Prusa i3 MK2 $599.99

As much as I love my first printer it had limitations. Specifically, the print size was small (4" x 4" x 4"), and the quality varied too much. This prevented students from printing multiple prototypes, and imposed a severe constraint. 

I chose the Prusa i3 MK2 for the following reasons:

-Large print area
- Award winning (Make Magazine's best for 2017 & 2018)
-Huge online community for support
-Easy Maintenance

Printer Filament - Hatchbox PLA appx. $100.00 (22.99-29.94 per kg)

I chose Hatchbox as I have used it in the past and have found it reliable 

ComputerRaspberry Pi 3 Starter Kit - 69.99

3D printers cannot run on their own. Having a dedicated computer to operate this printer is essential. My classroom computer, while very much able to handle the task, is needed elsewhere (i.e. Helping me teach reading, writing, math, and social studies lessons) 

Monitor - ViewSonic HD Monitor  - 119.00

I chose this monitor because it is the least expensive one that meets my needs. Raspberry pi 3 requires a monitor with an HDMI input. 

Various Materials & Shipping Costs - 111.02

Masking tape, side cutters, allen wrenches, files (the kind that scrape), there are a lot of little things that ones needs when running a 3D printer. 

The End

The truth is that even if this campaign is not funded the unit will go on. The materials here will improve the experience, but their absence will not prevent it. Not just because it aligns with my interests outside of school, but because it is providing students with enriching and authentic learning experiences. This unit goes beyond engineering and design skills, it is teaching teamwork, communication, and perserverence.
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Patrick McInerny 
Minneapolis, MN
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