The Texas Education Agency defines a gifted and talented (GT) student as "a child or youth who performs at or shows the potential for performing at a remarkably high level of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment" in such areas as academic performance, artistic, or leadership skills.
At Smithville High School, our GT students are given tasks that encourage creative "out of the box" thinking. This year we were fortunate enough to be given a Flashforge 3D printer for our program. Just like the name implies, a 3D printer is able to print a 3D object, layer by layer, out of various materials, usually a biodegradable plastic called PLA filament. The awesome thing about 3D printing is, the sky is the limit when it comes to designing and printing objects and this makes the 3D printer a perfect tool for our GT students.
One of the goals of GT is to allow students to take the lead in their own learning, research, and communication. This fall they have already come up with some great ideas for what they plan to do with their new 3D printer. These include homecoming mum trinkets, Halloween toys, Christmas ornaments, and graduation gifts.
Our GT program is not only about learning how to use a 3D printer though. We plan to do many other projects throughout the year. The bottom line is that our students are being given the opportunity reach their full potential as young adults and become the leaders of tomorrow.