Morgan Park Academy teachers and students have been thrilled to welcome new, state-of-the-art equipment and technologies into the Thrall Family Makerspace, bolstering our commitment to hands-on learning and cutting-edge technology integration.

Additions include a suite of new electronic equipment, enhancing the capabilities for students to explore and innovate in the realms of electronics, robotics, woodworking, and programming. This investment reflects our dedication to providing students with the tools and resources necessary to thrive in today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape.

“We are thrilled to unveil the latest enhancements to our Thrall Family Makerspace thanks to the unwavering commitment of the Thrall family. It demonstrates their ongoing commitment to fostering creativity, innovation, and hands-on learning opportunities for our students,” Head of School Mercedes Z. Sheppard said.

“With the addition of new equipment, the Thrall family is empowering our students to explore, create, and innovate in ways that will prepare them for success in the 21st century.”

The expansion reflects MPA’s dedication to providing a dynamic learning environment that cultivates curiosity, ingenuity, and collaboration among students.

The newly acquired Arduino R4 boards are highly versatile, allowing students to create a wide range of projects, from basic LED blinking to complex robotic systems.

“The open-source nature of Arduino encourages students to explore their ideas without limitations, fostering a culture of experimentation and creativity,” technology and makerspace teacher Matt Solah said.

Complementing the electronic equipment are new state-of-the-art 3D printers, empowering students to bring their imaginative designs to life with precision and creativity. These advanced 3D and resin printers will catalyze innovation, enabling students to prototype ideas, experiment with design concepts, and engage in hands-on learning experiences that transcend traditional boundaries.

Solah explains: “One example among many is an eighth-grader who has shown a continued and enthusiastic interest in 3D modeling and 3D printing during the school year. He has worked hard to learn 3D design on professional software, investing significant free time into his personal projects. When he learned about the new Creality K1C filament printer and the Uniformation resin 3D printers, I saw his face light up.

“He managed to design a multi-component monorail model that demonstrated how the parts of a monorail train go together, even including a basic transmission with gearing that would have been impossible to make before.”

In addition to the electronic and 3D printing capabilities, Morgan Park Academy has expanded its woodshop tools inventory, equipping students with new routers, surface planners, bandsaws, and more. The woodshop club has been taking full advantage of these new tools, repairing furniture on campus, and unleashing their creativity and craftsmanship.

“The Glowforge laser cutters are still the favorite tools in the woodshop, but these new tools allow us to broaden our capabilities,” Solah said.

Teachers are equally excited. For instance, the Upper School biology teacher has enthusiastically commissioned students to print cell organelles and anatomical models with a level of detail that can only be achieved by the new resin 3D printer.