3D Printing Project Allows Students at Princess Elizabeth Public School to Learn, Lead and Inspire in New Ways

FRIDAY, DEC. 9, 2022


Above: Princess Elizabeth Public School students Serenity Staats, Naomie Froman, and Sydney Obediah put the finishing touches on the keychains.

t will be harder to lose your keys with the addition of a vibrant Learn Lead Inspire keychain, and thanks to a project spearheaded by Grade 8 students in educator Justin Alonzi’s class at Princess Elizabeth Public School, this frequently reached-for item is getting an inspired upgrade. The class has been exploring 3D printing to learn, lead and inspire in their own ways, designing and producing keychains with each of the components of Grand Erie’s multi-year strategic plan’s vision emblazoned on them. Those keychains were delivered to Grand Erie principals and vice-principals last week. The Grade 8 students have become so skilled with the design and production 3D printing enables that they’ve created a business venture from the expertise they’ve acquired, selling printed items to family, community members and local businesses. Known as Creative Clouds, students are responsible for all aspects of the business, and proceeds from it go toward the Grade 8 graduation trip this school year. 

Grand Erie had questions about how it all started, and with the collaboration of co-op student Aislin Carrol, who is in Grade 12 at Pauline Johnson Collegiate and Vocational School and is completing a placement in education at Princess Elizabeth, students shared their thoughts: 

How did this project come about?

During the pandemic, Mr. Alonzi began learning about 3D printing. Over the last two years, the Grade 8 students have been developing a class business, selling 3D prints to families and businesses in the area to raise money for our Grade 8 graduation trip. We wanted to create something unique to show our appreciation for all the hard work Grand Erie staff members put forth every day. 

What is the process for making the keychains?

To make the keychains, we used three types of 3D printers. We decided to use bio-sourced plastic (also known as PLA). The keychains were designed on a 3D modelling program called Blender, using SVG file photos of the Grand Erie logo. From there, we converted the file into STL format. The keychains were primed, sanded, and painted using an airbrush. We have completed 150 keychains by hand! 

Tell us a little more about the connections of this project to the Multi-Year Strategic Plan's mission to Learn, Lead and Inspire.
This project is connected to the multi-year plan's mission to Learn, Lead and Inspire through the opportunities it gave us. We learned how to do many new things such as assembling the 3D printer, learning the intricacies of 3D printing programs, and the post-print process, including sanding and painting objects correctly. This project taught us to be leaders. We learned how to delegate responsibilities to one another and complete them to the best of our abilities. Lastly, this project inspired many students to build models on a student-friendly program called Tinkercad. Every time we told people about our project, they were amazed! This project taught us that even though we are young, we can still do impactful things.  

What else did you learn from this project?

3D printing is more complex than it seems. There's a big learning curve. It requires a lot of patience and persistence, and together, with the help of Mr. Alonzi, we overcame the fear of messing up! 

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