Advanced Learning Center will participate in Utah Valley University’s STEM Expo

by Khristen Massic


Brendan Bakker (SFHS), Tyler Christmas (MMHS), Gavin Deschamps (PHS), Noah Eliason (SHS), Kyle Gordon (SHHS), Rebekah Hair (MMHS), T-Rex Larsen (SHHS), Samuel Oliver (MMHS), Nicholas Paduano (MMHS), and Adam Syndergaard (MMHS) are students in the Engineering Design and Development course which is the capstone course for the engineering program at the Advanced Learning Center.

On the first day of class, students were given the challenge to 3D print items to be put inside 2-inch gumball machine capsules. Students defined the problem, researched materials and print times for manufacture, brainstormed themes, found existing models, used a slicing software to create the code to meet print time specifications, and printed all the items to be placed within the capsules.

Come see what the students produced at this weekend’s STEM Expo! The Expo takes place at UVU’s Grande Ballroom within the Sorensen Student Center from 10 AM to 1 PM on Saturday, September 24. The Expo is free to attend and is for all ages.

This project was based on the Ultimaker Gumball Challenge that took place in May. The Advanced Learning Center was one of four schools in the nation which was invited to participate in a unique "Gumball Machine Challenge" which was judged by the attendees of the 2016 Bay Area Maker Faire which was held in San Francisco May 21-22. The Bay Area Maker Faire is one of the largest Maker Faires in the world, and was attended by over 145,000 people in 2015.

“Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.” Maker Faires are hosted all over the world with two flagship faires hosted annually in New York and the Bay Area. The events were started by Make magazine to “celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset".


Our students were asked to design 3D printed items to be put inside 2-inch gumball machine capsules. Our students' designs were then be loaded into one of the four gumball machines at the San Francisco Bay Area Maker Faire May 21-22. Attendees bought our items for 50 cents each and we were able to keep the proceeds for our program. The school to sell the most capsules also won a 3D printer from Ultimaker.


The technical design 2 class (now Engineering Design and Development), which consisted of students from all five high schools, were asked to design the items for the capsules. These students brainstormed possible ideas as well as asked the introduction to engineering design students to do the same. The technical design students sorted the over 400 ideas into categories such as toys, tech, and puzzles. At that point, the students narrowed down the ideas based on the criteria of the challenge. From there, students selected four ideas that they liked the most and did further research to pitch their idea to rest of the class. After the pitches were complete, students completed a criteria matrix where each idea was assessed by various criteria and given a rating. The criteria that was used was: feasibility, printing time, difficulty in design, and collectibility. From this, the students were able to decide which idea would be pursued. The idea that was ultimately decided on was “hinges/links.” 3D printed is considered additive prototyping because it adds one layer at a time to the part. The hinges/link idea was selected because links can be printed in one part and be fully functional using additive prototyping. Students designed and printed a bracelet, Maker Faire robot, and an eel--all of which had hinges or links.


We were contacted by Ultimaker Education to be a part of this competition because we are leading the way in 3D printing in education. The Ultimaker company is located in the Netherlands and is one of the best known makers of open-source 3D printers. The other three schools were located in North Virginia, Michigan, and New York.

We were honored and excited to be selected for such a high profile event and elite group of schools to be featured at the 2nd largest Maker Faire in the world.


The Challenge was two-fold in order to sell the most items: 1) have great designs that will be appealing to attendees and 2) print a lot of items. While we had great designs, we did not print as many as some of the other schools. The following is from Lizabeth Arum, Strategic Research Consultant, Education, for Ultimaker, “Some families came back looking for more capsules from Advanced Learning Center in Springville, UT long after the last one had sold out at 4pm on Saturday. That includes people coming back on Sunday. One family "bought" a souvenir for each of her 15 classmates that could not attend Maker Faire.” Our designs and designs from the winning school can be downloaded here and printed at home.


Because of the problem-based nature of this challenge, the ALC will be continuing the gumball challenge in-house using the earnings from this challenge. The ALC will seek out additional faires/expos to display our students’ work. In the meantime, this year’s students will design and print items to be featured in a gumball machine that will be placed in the lobby of the school and will be highlighted during this-year’s open house.