8th graders use 3D printer to help 2nd grader with disability

Two 13-year-olds, Josh Butler and Tommy Dulle, used some special software and a 3D printer to help make lunchtime a little easier for a 7-year-old with a disability.

ST. CHARLES, Mo. – At Orchard Farm Middle School, when looking for a history or math class you might stumble upon something very different.

"It's called Innovation and Technology," explained teacher Eleanna Liscombe as a drone flies over her head.

Here, instead of textbooks, kids are leafing through the pages of their imaginations.

Loading ...

"They're not only encouraged to push their limits. They're required to," Liscombe said.

Two 13-year-olds, Tommy Dulle and Josh Butler, said they always look forward to this class because it gives them the chance to both geek-out and help out.

"Help the world, help yourself, help other people," Dulle said.

And it turns out, one of those people Tommy and Josh could help was just a short drone flight away.

Natalie Baker is a second grader at Discovery Elementary.

By all accounts, this 7-year-old is bright, bold and big-hearted. She also has a congenital disability.

"So she faces a lot of challenges throughout her day with her school," explained her occupational therapist Kaitlin Bethel.

When your muscles don't work right, even lunchtime can be a tough time.

Bethel came to what you could call a fork in the road, after fashioning some sticky tape to a plastic spoon.

But then she decided to visit the Innovation class.

Once the boys heard about Natalie and the curved spoon, some new ideas began to take shape.

Using some special software, they started designing a prototype.

"It had to be at a certain angle and it had to be attached to something on her arm, said Josh Butler.

After a few weeks using new technology and an old technique called trial and error, the boys were ready to print out their findings.

On the classroom's new 3d printer.

Now keep in mind, Josh and Tommy were helping someone they had never met.

And then they did.

Strangers becoming friends with help from a plastic cuff and swivel spoon. Imagination becoming creation.

"I liked it because they made that stuff for me," Natalie told us.

Of course after making this prototype, it's back to work to make it better.

Loading ...

"I think it's amazing that these kids are able to pick up this technology and kind of make these things," Ms. Bethel said.

Neither Josh nor Tommy know exactly what they want to be when they grow up. But while they don't know the occupation, the do know the direction.

"Yeah, pretty much help other people, "said Josh.

"It actually makes me feel really good, "Tommy added.

Two boys leaving an imprint by using a spoonful of technology and generosity.