The Miles for Manufacturing (M4M) 5K race set up by the International Manufacturing Trade Show (IMTS) Chicago, and GIE Media, publishers of industry magazines, has set up a fund to support STEAM education in schools and institutions city-wide.

$8,000 shared between the Public Library and a youth community project

The sign-up fees of over 300 participants were added to a fund of $8,000 that was shared between the Chicago Public Library Foundation and community organization Project SYNCERE (Supporting Youth’s Needs with Core Engineering Research Experiments).

SYNCERE Project children build and test a catapult. Photo via: SYNCERE Project on Flickr

SYNCERE Project children build and test a catapult. Photo via: SYNCERE Project on Flickr

The money will help to fund a revamp of the Public Library’s YouMedia program, a kind of Maker Space for all things digital where children and young adults can make videos, tinker with websites and share their ideas. At Project SYNCERE, $5,000 will help to launch their EngineerU program which will provide underprivileged children access to leading design software and expertise.

4 x MakerGear 3D printer to schools

Four Chicago schools also received a MakerGear 3D printer each, donated by the M4M.

In 3D Hubs’ annual Printer Index, the MakerGear M2 is the 3D printer ranked at the top of the leaderboard for 2016, achieving an overall rating of 9.2 (out of 10) based on the site’s reviews. It was also awarded ‘Best Workhorse’ of 2017 by the site, having previously topped the ‘Enthusiast’ categories for 2015 and 2016.

The MakerGear M2 assembled 3D printer typically retails at $1,825 Photo via: makergear.com

The MakerGear M2 assembled 3D printer typically retails at $1,825 Photo via: makergear.com

IMTS spoke to James Harris, a teacher from one of Chicago’s public high schools to find out how the donation would contribute to classes:

The fascination of bringing an idea into existence makes learning more fun and meaningful for students. It also gives teachers and students the opportunity to strengthen critical thinking skills and learn about physical computing and fabrication as well as STEM-related careers. 3D printing in our school has captivated the attention of all learners and transformed the way that most students think when it comes to expanding on ideas.

3D printing STEAM education – the perfect match 

There is a collective push for getting a STEAM education into schools as it combines five key areas of knowledge (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) in a new and practical way. It fills a void that traditional academic study fails to deliver, and presents an alternative, but also supporting, educational method that treats students more like individuals, rather than assuming they can all learn in the same way.

MakerBot have been quick to jump in on this trend providing 3D printing educational programs and training in India, and also introducing their MakerBot Innovation Centres into schools before university level.

Featured image shows enthusiastic runners at the IMTS Miles for Manufacturing (M4M) 5K race. Screenshot via: iSpy IMTS TV

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