The red and blue prosthetic arm sits on a desk between Northern Hills Middle School seventh-grader Maeli Gottschalk and her mother, Laura Gottschalk.
The arm, Maeli’s entryway into learning how to ride a bicycle, now mostly sits in a closet since she does not use it anymore, Laura Gottschalk said, adding that the family hangs on to the arm, because of what it symbolizes.
“It was the first time where someone helped her and helped us as a family to find a solution for her to do something she wanted, which in turn opened doors to other opportunities,” she said.
In 2015, Gotschalk, a math teacher at Northern Hills Middle School, found the design plans for building an arm on the site Enabling the Future. The nonprofit shares designs to those willing to volunteer to make them.
She reached out to Northern High teacher Adam Zavislak about making Maeli the prosthetic arm. Zavisiak oversaw a robotics class, which had recently acquired a 3D printer, which was needed to build the arm.
“It was an opportunity to show the students a real-world application of having that technology and how it could help,” he said. “It encouraged the students to think outside of the box and do some actual problem solving.”
To hear from the students who helped create the prosthetic arm with the use of 3D printing, check out the School News Network article linked here.