BOISE, Idaho — The 3D Tech Doves, an all-girls team from Christine Donnell School of the Arts, took first place in the Southern Idaho Exhibition of Ideas for creating a Braille daily schedule which they called a Teacher Classroom Kit.
The event held by the Idaho STEM Action Center is a 3D design and fabrication competition that aims to prepare students to solve real-world problems.
The team of five 5th grade girls 3D printed plastic letters and number tiles and then adhered magnetic strips to the back of them so the letters and tiles could stick to a metal cookie sheet and be easily moved around.
The idea behind creating a classroom Braille daily schedule was to make something "usable to visually impaired students so they can be more independent," Amber McVey, the girls mentor said.
One of the judges at the exhibition, a teacher from the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind said, "she wished she could have one because she could use it immediately in her classroom," according to McVey.
The girls, excited to see their project could help other students, approached the teacher after the competition and offered to donate the Teacher Classroom Kit to her.
"I feel really good, I think we did a really good job and helped a lot of people," Hailey Harwell, member of the 3D Tech Doves said.
Now the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind has the Braille daily schedule and the digital files to make more of them.
Speaking about her students, McVey said, "they are an eclectic bunch of ladies who range from low to high socioeconomic status.” They worked for two months after school and on the weekends with McVey to complete the Braille daily schedule.
"These young women exemplify the future of technology and are the future STEM leaders," McVey said.