An entrepreneurial project to 3D print stakes to identify seedlings took on unexpected proportions last spring. Mélanie Bourque, a teacher in 4e-5e and David Dutil, a teacher in grade 5, ande-6e year students at École Sainte-Julie de Laurierville in Centre-du-Québec found themselves at the heart of "this beautiful project, a little crazy, but so educational and stimulating".
The school in Laurierville, a village of 1500 inhabitants, is not to be outdone with its well-equipped creative laboratory. The school team uses its imagination every year to keep it alive and to give the students new experiences. The link with the community is also very present.
"For the year 2021-2022, we had the idea of creating a business to make stakes to identify the plants and sell them in the community. After a publication in a social network, the orders started coming in... The success was so great that we printed 1,200 small stakes!" says Mélanie Bourque.
Each post required one hour and fifteen minutes of printing time. We let you do the math!
A real company
About 40 students participated in the entrepreneurial project. Committees were created. They took part in all the steps of creating a product, from the idea to the marketing, to the packaging and even the delivery.
They calculated the cost of making the stakes, decided on the types of stakes (strawberry, blueberry, tomato, etc.), made vector drawings, produced a logo for their company, created order forms, and imagined advertisements. Of course, they printed the stakes, but they also prepared orders that some of them were able to deliver on foot in their village.
Finally, the municipality asked them to plant community vegetable boxes and identify them with their stakes. As an added bonus, the students were able to visit an agricultural business, and they even designed a prototype of a connected watering system to feed their own seedlings. Living in an agricultural environment, the students had the opportunity to see how technology can be used to benefit agriculture.
Demanding, but satisfying
"This kind of project is demanding for teachers, but the young people shine. It's so motivating for them," says Sébastien Bergeron, a pedagogical advisor who assists teachers at the Centre de services scolaires des Bois-Francs in the integration of digital technology. "It's concrete for the students. It's a real transfer of their learning into their daily lives. It allows them to highlight their strengths, to learn to trust themselves to make decisions. I have seen my students become more responsible and mature throughout the project," adds Mélanie.
She recognizes that this type of highly engaging project is not within the reach of everyone. She invites teachers to trust themselves, not to be afraid to try (start with a small project), to surround themselves with colleagues to live cross-class projects and share experiences. Finally, "go with your personality and your background. Do a project that is like you".