It’s said necessity is the mother of invention, but for 11-year-old Eftihia Giannoudakos of Carol Stream, it’s perplexing and often baffling challenges which spark her interest in design and development.
Known to her friends and classmates at Benjamin Middle School as Effie, the sixth grader is drawn to combine technology and new skills learned in the school MakerSpace to create products which help solve challenges and meet unique classroom needs.
For example, using the 3-D printer, Effie recently completed two versions of an originally-designed classroom stylus holder to house the many stylus pens used in the sixth grade math classes.
“Creating cylinders the right size and arranged at the right tilt was the biggest challenge,” explains Effie, who says she was first introduced to the 3-D printer in the fifth grade and now uses her directed study periods to delve deeper into 3-D printing—learning to create stars, renovating squares to form rectangles, and creating three dimensional cylinders from circle patterns.
In addition to her interest in choir, art and scouting, Effie frequently can be found working on design challenges in the school MakerSpace and has become a student leader in 3-D printing and innovation.
“Effie says I taught her everything she knows about building 3-D projects,” explains Ellen Behrman, Benjamin technology specialist. “However, she’s taught herself a lot about the 3-D printing program. It was seeing her projects that made me think of helping her learn easier ways to build using the tools provided in the 3D program. She took it from there.”
With dreams of possibly becoming a doctor and putting her graphics and design skills to the test helping patients, Effie has already begun experimenting on hand designs, using cylinder shapes to recreate fingers, and other designs featuring unique shapes and figures.
“Engineering and design are all about trial and error,” explains the technology-savvy sixth grader who says she also enjoys coding activities using Benjamin’s new Ozobot smart robots and programming Spheros balls. “The capabilities for 3-D printing are great and there’s a lot more to learn.”