ENGAGE, the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics’ (GSSM) newest outreach initiative, was composed of four day-long sessions, during which 25 7th and 8th grade female students from Sneed, Southside and Williams Middle Schools learned the basics of 3D printing. They had the unique opportunity to create, print and pitch their own prototype to pseudo-investors with a little help from current GSSM students.
On the first day of the workshop, students were grouped into teams as they were introduced to the ENGAGE challenge and the coding software they would be using for the next month. Their challenge was to design their own 3D printable prototype that could hold a household item like a phone, USB drive or jewelry. Students brainstormed and then began designing their product prototypes.
The second day of the workshop was dedicated to coding. Students built, edited and revised their 3D print prototype using their newfound knowledge of the coding software they had developed the previous workshop. The next step was fine-tuning their product.
The third day focused largely on the unique entrepreneurial and business aspect of ENGAGE. Students learned the basics of marketing and business plans. They developed and practiced their own elevator pitches to sell the prototype that they would deliver to potential investors at the next session.
Finally, on the last day of the workshop, students pitched their self-designed 3D prototypes of everyday containers to local business leaders acting as investors. The workshop culminated in a community showcase where the girls were then able to share their prototypes with families, partner schools and community members.
Within just a few short weeks, these middle school girls learned how to design, code and sell their very own 3D prototype – and that’s just the beginning! With ENGAGE under their belts, we hope to also have built their confidence with new technologies and fueled their desire to learn more about STEM!
GSSM extends a special thank you to Verizon for funding the ENGAGE workshops in Florence.