Building Prosthetic Hands

In July, I took some students to Swinburne University of Technology to be part of the Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria Conference.

A group of six students ranging from Year five through to Year eleven worked together and built a 3D printer from its basic components and printed and assembled working prosthetic hands. These hands, designed as part of the E-Nable open source project that has brought together engineers, artists, makers, occupational therapists, prosthetists, garage tinkerers, designers and many others from all over the world, can be printed and assembled for less than $50.

Real-world projects like this enable students to become deep, independent thinkers, who take responsibility for their own learning and solve problems that have a real outcome as they experience first-hand what it is like to be a designer, a mathematician or an engineer. Our students are empowered to be the creators and inventors of tomorrow’s technology by having the mindset that nothing is impossible and that you can create whatever you imagine. Whilst the designs of the hands are downloadable the deep learning is during assembly, the understanding of an interconnected system, the engineering and in the linear and parametric scaling to ensure hands are printed to the correct size.  It made the local paper – SCT August 20th 2015

Two prosthetic hands have now been completed as our students go about identifying a potential donor so their work can go to someone in need.

How Do We Create A Good Tomorrow?

Angelo Patri wrote in 1917,

“The school must be enriched so that the child can experiment with actual things from the very first day of school. Playrooms and games, animals and plants, wood and nails must take their place side by side with books and words. Be it remembered, however, that a shop, a studio, a playroom, may become as formal, as dead, as antiquated, as rigid as any phase of the present book school, if these activities are developed by rule and applied to all children regardless of tastes or tendencies, in accordance with a fixed time schedule that has neither elbow room or leisure. The substitution for direct experiences for indirect ones leads nowhere. I wanted nature that would make the child’s heart warm with sympathy, that would make the child dig and plant and be glad of the earths smells, that would make him laugh to feel the snow and the rain and the wind beating on his face.“

I think we bring this vision to life in our environmental program that sees our Year 4 students spend every day immersed in the natural world thinking about nature, the environment, sustainability and a whole range of global issues. The year-long immersion program is centered around the driving question “How do we create a good tomorrow?”

We have just put together a new video. Check it out.


Year 4 Enviro Program from Sam McIntosh on Vimeo.