PEAK Gifted and Talented students from Ellen Smith Elementary learned about 3-D printers, laser cutters and other tools at the University of Central Arkansas Makerspace during a field trip Monday.
The excited group of third and fourth graders asked Master Maker Jason Huselton question after question about the tools, "Star Wars" and "Ghostbusters" replicated design pieces hanging on the wall and the many created items on display for everyone to see including a 3-D purple bear, LEGO man, lasered cutting board and more.
Huselton conducted a demonstration of the software they use at the Makerspace for the students who then got to jump on computers and tinker with it themselves.
At the same time they were doing that, the 3-D printers were creating different colored musical taber pipes, enough for each individual to take home as a token of the day.
Huselton said after everyone was able to explore the software on their own, he passed out the pipes and every kid came up to the front to play a tune for the group.
Overall, he said he thought the day went well.
"I thought the kids enjoyed it," Huselton said. "I liked that I could see their mind was thinking about the possibilities of what they do in here."
That, he said, is one of his favorite parts of being the Master Maker — hearing all the ideas the students come up with and being able to see the space through their eyes.
"That’s one of the favorite parts of my job," Huselton said. "Getting to help kids and let them see the cool technology."
Ellen Smith teacher Shonda Smith said the students have been working with robotics and the school also has its own makerspace area, but she wanted them to see what other labs looked liked.
She said she’s been planning the trip for more than a month and the group has been incredibly excited throughout the waiting period.
"I think it’s important for them to see what kind of technology is out there and how technology is continually changing," Smith said. "Technology is very important in their world. Anything they have or do involves that."
She said she felt the students really enjoyed themselves during the trip.
"I imagine we’ll be playing with this [tinker] program when we get back," Smith said. "Maybe they can design something and we can have it printed."