Vancleave students use 3D printing to save an injured turtle

Vancleave students use 3D printing to save an injured turtle
The gifted robotics team at Vancleave Upper Elementary wanted to find a way to help animals using 3D printing. (Photo source: WLOX)

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Jackson County elementary students are working on a high tech project that could help an injured animal recover.

The gifted robotics class at Vancleave Upper Elementary wanted to find out if 3D printing could help injured animals, so they called Wild at Heart Animal Rescue.

It just so happened that a rescued turtle named Jigsaw was missing part of his shell after being run over.

This case was exactly what the children were looking for. "These kids imagination, it's all up to them now. We've given them a cast. We'll bring him back later for some more fitting and then we'll see what their imaginations can do for this guy," said veterinarian Dr. James Askew.

The students said figuring out a way to print a new shell piece for Jigsaw is all about the scientific process.

"We plan stuff, we imagine it, we come up with ideas. If they don't work, we go back to the chalkboard and we make another idea and we do that idea and if that doesn't work, you just keep on going until it works," said fifth grader, Miranda Lock.

Their ideas are being brought to life at the Jackson County School District's Fab Lab.

"Instead of just having it on a piece of paper, or just writing it down and saying this is what I could do. Now, you can actually try and apply that solution and see if it works," said Scott Beebe, who will lead the Fab Lab when it opens.

Beth Seymour, their teacher, says this kind of learning produces the most results. It's also a type of learning that may not have a correct answer.

"The future's going to be different than what it is today. So, if we don't allow them to ask those weird questions that we don't know answers to, and admit we don't know answers, then they're not going to be able solve the future problems that lie before us," said Seymour.

The 3D printed shell may be one of the first projects for the Fab Lab when it opens in a few weeks.

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