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NewsTribune photo/Rachel Stella Fifth-graders Ethan Ryan (left) and Eric Lane demonstrate the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 “Spiker” robot in the STEM lab during Dimmick School’s academic fair. They built the robot along with classmate Thomas Schroeder.
Seventh-grader Matt Haas was frustrated recently in the Dimmick School Science, Technology, Math and Engineering lab.
Using computer-aided drafting, he had designed a stand to hold the iPad he used in class upright.
“My (iPad) case came with a holder, but it wasn’t holding the iPad up tall enough,” Haas said. “I wanted an iPad stand that would be mine, so I customized it, and made sure it held up my iPad straight.”
His design, featuring his initials, “MH” on the top, had taken eight hours and 49 minutes to be manufactured in the STEM lab using 3-D printing. After several unworkable designs, called “fails,” according to instructor Teri Rossman, Haas hoped this one would be a success.
Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t.
Rossman informed Haas the design was a fail when she came into the lab and saw the tablet stand after it had been through the manufacturing process during the night.
“We noticed the larger designs kept turning out as fails,” Rossman said. “Matt had the idea to scale it down this morning.”
Haas made a smaller version of his stand design and began the printing process. This time, it took only one hour and 40 minutes to finish.
He was able to proudly display his working iPad stand Friday at the school’s academic fair.
“We had a lot of fails, but today, we made it smaller and printed it,” Haas said.
The product, made of plastic strands and weighing only a few grams, is able to hold the weight of the iPad and its durable case, which is more than a pound combined. Its inner hexagonal structure — like the inside of a honeycomb — gives it strength.
Haas’ tablet stand was only one of the many student projects at the fair.
Also in the STEM lab, fifth-graders Ethan Ryan, Eric Lane and Thomas Schroeder excitedly demonstrated the “Spiker” robot they had built and programmed using the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 kit.
The robot crawled along the floor and shot small red projectiles across the room. Schroeder said he liked the robot’s shooter.
Ryan’s favorite part? “I think it’s the claws, since the claws keep falling off,” he said.
The eighth-graders participated in a science fair, while the seventh-graders participated in a history fair.
The fairs are not judged, but they’re meant to give the students a chance to preview projects they will enter later this spring in the regional fair in DeKalb, according to fair organizer Carleen Bergandi, junior high language arts teacher.
In addition to performing a choral reading of literary passages in Spanish and English, sixth-graders participated in an “academic” fair, where they could present research projects on any topic that was new to them, Bergandi said.
“We actually start the kids researching in third grade,” superintendent Ryan Linnig said, adding that he didn’t want students to get to high school with no research project experience.
Sixth-grader Maddy Mudge presented research on bullying.
“There’s over 3.2 million people who are victims of bullying each year, so I wanted to do more research,” Mudge said. “So far, Dimmick School is a bully-free zone. I don’t see a lot, and we want to keep it that way.”
Mudge, an editor of the student-run Dimmick News website, said she shot a film featuring four girls who were gossiping about two other girls, with two bystanders. She was still in the process of editing the film on Friday.
Though Mudge said she didn’t see much bullying at school, she recalled recently standing up for a victim of cyberbullying she knew from her involvement with swimming at the Illinois Valley Y.
“Basically all my friends have been bullied, and it’s sad,” she said. “I wanted to do something to stop it.”
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