Wye River Upper School (WRUS) students donated a hand built MakerCart to the Queen Anne’s County Library in Centreville on Tuesday, Oct. 20, sturdy enough to hold a 3D printer.
Last year, the library staff visited the WRUS MakerSpace facility, a 1000 square-foot facility that features low and high tech tools to enhance students’ design and production skills. It was during this visit that they informed James Martinez, WRUS director of MakerSpace and Project Based Learning, about the issue they had with their previous cart: when they placed their 3D printer on their old cart, the top bent, causing the drawers below it to remain closed.
Martinez knew he wanted to help the library, so he enlisted his students to take on the challenge. Six WRUS students were ready to get their hands dirty for a rewarding classroom experience.
“We went over to the Centreville Library, interviewed the staff, looked at what they had,” said Martinez. “(The students) took notes, made several sketches and started measuring the wood to meet the dimensions. They used our wood laser cutter to make a model, put that all into a presentation, (and showed the library) our plan. The people at the library liked it, so we figured out how to make it.”
Martinez also asked the library what additions they would like on the cart, and they requested cabinets, drawers, and space for a toolbox that can hold electronic items including batteries, wirings and simple circuits. The students quickly got to work, starting on the full-size cart in October of last year, and completing the project in March.
During that time, the students had some easy tasks to complete, and several challenging ones that presented difficult hurdles. WRUS sophomore Jay Truitt said that this was the first time anybody in the classroom has made a cart.
“We didn’t know how to apply sliding doors or anything. No matter how many times we had to recut, we eventually got it right,” Truitt said. “It showed we (could) figure out how to make things, and having Mr. Martinez was helpful.”
WRUS sophomore Chris Windsor added that the gluing was an obstacle, but they overcame this hurdle and learned an important lesson.
“If one of us messes up, we should fess up to it. It is important that we can acknowledge (a mistake), so somebody can change and fix that mistake,” Windsor said.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school shut down on Friday, March 13, delaying the donation until it was safe for delivery. Youth Services Librarian Jenny Gallagher said working with the students on the creation of a MakerCart for the Queen Anne’s County Library was a wonderful experience.
“Seeing the students follow through on the entire process, from listening to our needs, doing a small scale mock-up of the design, and providing a finished product was wonderful,” Gallagher said. “The MakerCart was a great way for the students to take part in their community and demonstrate the practical skills they are learning.”
About Wye River Upper School
Wye River Upper School is an independent high school serving the strengths and needs of bright students with learning differences. Located in Centreville MD approximately 20 minutes east of the Bay Bridge, WRUS also offers daily bus transportation. For more info contact Tracie Spence at 443-262-8294.