Students building hover cars with 3D design

Iowa City Press Citizen

Hover cars soon will fly at M.C. Ginsberg Objects of Art, where middle-school students began taking a class on 3D design this week.

The class, which covers design, additive manufacturing and 3D printing, is one of several offerings for students in grades 6-8 through the University of Iowa Belin-Blank Center’s one-week Junior Scholars Institute. The class also is the first of its kind to be offered at a business rather than a classroom, said Lori Ihrig, supervisor for curriculum and instruction at the Belin-Blank Center.

Students must apply to participate in the institute, which includes room and board, and those accepted receive $325 scholarships to help cover the $1,025 fee.

Ihrig said the 3D design course exposes students to artistry, engineering and entrepreneurship, and that the partnership with M.C. Ginsberg allows students to work in an authentic space.

She said students will go above and beyond simply using technology by engaging creative, integrative thinking and problem solving.

“It’s not 3D printing for the sake of 3D printing,” Ihrig said.

Tuesday, students designed and assembled Styrofoam, cube-shaped puzzles at M.C. Ginsberg’s Studio for Advanced Design. In the coming days, they will design and build model hover cars using 3D printers and other materials.

Kevin Wilkinson, a teacher at Williamsburg High School, taught the students Tuesday and said the class encourages kids to be creative. He said it also exposes them to 3D printers as they become more user-friendly.

“It allows children to now create, design and build these products,” he said.

Hayden Johnson, 13, an eighth-grader living in Iowa City, said he loves building things. He said interests in 3D modeling and computer graphics drew him to the class, and that he hopes to get firsthand experience in these areas.

Ananya Albrecht-Buehler, 12, a seventh-grader living in Iowa City, said the opportunity to work with new technology drew her to the class.

“I just like technology and designing things,” she said.

Mark Ginsberg, owner of M.C. Ginsberg Objects of Art, said he was excited to partner with Belin-Blank on a class where students could gain experience in a non-traditional setting. He said these settings give students freedom to explore a variety of disciplines.

“They get to see real-world applications,” he said.

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