Franklin Regional students will create, sell 3D-printed products through foundation grant

Generally speaking, math class is math class. Students learn math. In English class, students read and write.

But teachers at Franklin Regional School District’s intermediate school will blend elements from across the educational spectrum as they work with a group of students to stock and run a student store.

“Leadership and entrepreneurship are our overarching goals, but with this, our ‘five C’s’ — creativity, communication, critical thinking, collaboration and citizenship — those are going to be involved in the whole process,” said teacher Addie Martz, who along with teacher Carmen Loughner submitted a $13,000 grant proposal for a program called “Forging Ahead.”

It will combine the purchase of a Glowforge 3D printer with lessons in entrepreneurship, as students in grades 3-5 develop and create items which they will then sell at a student-run store.

“You have the math from receipts and inventory, you have English language arts in the public announcements, and there will be an economics part in what we’re budgeting and selling,” Loughner said.

On the front end, student will engage in STEAM-style learning as they design products to create with the 3D printer.

““We wanted to do more than just coding and robotics,” Loughner said. I took that as a challenge, to find a way to use the five C’s to better prepare students for the future.

”We know they like robotics and coding, but not every child wants to do that. So why not give them a chance to see technology hands-on, designing something and watching it be built?”

Martz said the product line will change based on students interests and trends.

“We’d have day-to-day school supplies, but we’re having the students plan and design what they’d want to make with the Glowforge printer, things like ornaments around Christmas-time,” Martz said. “Our hope is for a portion of the proceeds to go back to the community, in addition to inventory for the store and supplies for the printer.”

Loughner said she and Martz will focus on the creativity-to-conception pipeline. Another teacher will focus on small-business skills like creating an inventory spreadsheet, and the school’s career counselor will bring in speakers to talk with students about small-business ownership.

English language arts teachers will help students develop promotional material and social media posts about the store. Students will also display their products at the district’s annual science, technology, reading, engineering, art and mathematics exposition in the spring.

The new approach is funded through a grant from the Franklin Regional Panther Foundation — one of four totaling more than $36,000 announced last week. District spokesperson Tina Gillen said the grant will fund a variety of project-based learning, something else the district is focused on.

“It’s some type of hands-on experience that typically has a STEAM push behind it,” she said. “It involves a number of different staff members collaborating through their expertise, and creating a project that has the potential to continue, instead of being a one-time thing.”

Martz said school counselors will work to identify students who curious about participating.

“We have 776 kids in the building. I have a feeling a lot of them will jump on that opportunity,” Martz said.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick by email at or via Twitter .

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