4H Summer Camp Workshops

4H is a youth-development organization that promotes well-rounded students by organizing activities toward community development. 4H camps are held at Virginia Tech every summer, and my research lab has been able to organize a workshop for these students.  The workshops range from 1 hour to 4 hours and are focused on the following:

- What is 3D printing? (technically referred as "Additive Manufacturing")
- How do you use a 3D printer? (Create a 3D CAD File, export to .STL, then create the machine code)
- What are the different types of 3D printers? (Direct 3D printing, Selective Laser Sintering, Fused Deposition Modeling, etc.)
- What is 3D printing useful for? (custom fixtures, orthopedics, art, etc.)

One of my favorite activities in the workshop is creating a 3D object using Cheez Whiz. The students each get a can of Cheez whiz. They are to pick 3D object to "print" (something simple like a cube or pyramid). Then they are to pretend they are to create their objects, layer-by-layer, just like a 3D printer would. When they are done they get to eat their creation!

Importance of the work
It is important to educate people about Additive Manufacturing technologies because I believe it is a big part of our future. Also, leading a workshop that inspires students to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) areas will ultimately help our nation maintain its lead in technology.

Tasks Completed
For this workshop I completed the following tasks:
- Selected meaningful activities for the students
- Gathered supplies for the activities
- Created the workshop schedule
- Led the workshop with the help of my labmate

Skills Gained
For this workshop I gained experience in developing engaging activities suited for younger students and leading 3-4 workshops of 15-20 students each.
Lessons Learned
Leading any workshop for people who are unfamiliar with Additive Manufacturing gives me the opportunity to practice speaking about my work in general terms. Most importantly though, I get to see the reaction of the public towards my work and understand the impact my work has. 

Impact of the Work
Teaching students about Additive Manufacturing can inspire them to study math and science. Also, teaching them on a college campus gives them the opportunity to imagine themselves going to college and hopefully encourages them to do so.

Amy Elliott,
Apr 8, 2013, 7:28 AM