Makerbot Cookies

Pre-Primary Browning boys in Mr. Sambuca’s technology class received a special treat this holiday season. Not only did they get to make tasty cookies, they were able to custom-make their own cookies cutters, too! Through the use of the MakerBot Replicator in their classroom, they actually “printed” their own cookie cutters after designing them with a web-based app, Cookie Caster. This app allowed them to draw freehand using the computer mouse and essentially create three-dimensional cookie cutters. The Replicator, a 3-D printer that can be used to create colorful plastic models of objects, can literally turn a three-dimensional computer model into a physical object. The printer identifies cross-sectional slices of the image and then lays down slice upon slice of ABS plastic to create a physical prototype. Engineers, architects and other professionals, as well as hobbyists and students, use this machine to make models of designs they conceive.
This year’s PP boys are the first of their grade level at the School to be enrolled in Mr. Sambuca’s new technology course which meets once a week beginning in the second trimester. Mr. Sambuca explained, “We realized that most children are exposed to technology at a very early age, so why make them wait to take a class like this? Why not offer it at the Pre-Primary level? Our goal is to expose and instill a love of learning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). We set out to design a class that would allow all the boys to explore and play with different types of technology, as well as build confidence along the way. The boys started the trimester learning the correct way to hold and properly use a computer mouse. As a result, this skill allowed the boys to design their cookie cutters while developing their hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills through web-based games such as FunBrain Playground. Future projects include ‘playing’ with electronics, iPads, Legos and robotics. The current Pre-Primary boys are essentially part of a pilot program; next year they will take a technology course for the entire year, beginning in September. By the time they are in fifth grade, they will have had more exposure to this new technology curriculum than any class before them.”
As the holiday season approached this year, Mr. Sambuca decided it would be a fun and useful exercise for the PP boys in his class to make their own cookies, as explained above. “I showed them how the MakerBot worked,” he said, “comparing the way it builds layers of plastic to the way one might make a layer cake. Over the course of three classes, the boys made cookie cutters in the shapes of ships, houses, stars and trees. Then they cut out the dough, sprinkled their cookies with colored sugar and took home the baked goods (which were cooked here in the School’s kitchen) to their families.”