Elementary students make teacher's dream come true

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. — Two teachers in Douglas County have some special proof of how amazing their students really are.

Channel 2's Linda Stouffer got to see how one classroom's technology is helping students dream big.

For teacher Heather Casey, playing catch is kind of a class project.

“I have my prosthetic arm and I can open and close,” Casey told Stouffer. “Last year, my students helped create it,” on a 3-D printer.

At Matthew Nauman's STEM class at Bill Arp Elementary School, students work out ideas and measurements on iPads then print using plastic filament.

“It’s not a hypothetical problem, it’s a need that we have right here,” Nauman said. “I think that’s important to the kids.”

Stouffer got to see the first version of Casey’s prosthetic arm, which was a little heavy at around four pounds. So, students had to go back to the design phase.

“We had to make a second one to make it less heavy and now it’s perfect,” STEM student Sam said.

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"They can actually have an idea or have a problem, design something and have a real solution they can hold in their hands," Nauman told Stouffer.

Students also engineered a second prosthetic for their teacher Tara Moon, who posted a video on Facebook the first time she used it to pick up a cup.

“My mom and all her friends cried because I’ve never been able to do anything with it, so it's awesome,” Moon said.

Sam told Stouffer that he wants to be an engineer, to figure out more ways to help people like Casey.

“Because she’s my teacher and I like her and she’s really nice to us, so we want something for her,” Sam told Stouffer.

"They were able to make a dream a reality," Casey said. "Like I've never had a useful arm, but my kids were able to see that dream come to life."

The teacher said that the 3-D printers are a $2,000 investment and that creating the prosthetics cost about $30 instead of thousands of dollars.