Crothersville students selling keychains made in new class


Christian Henry spent a couple of days learning how to operate a Monoprice Mini Select 3D Printer. 

He researched it online and watched videos of it in use.

Two days later, he applied the skills he learned to program the printer and use polylactic acid, a biodegradable plastic, to make a three-dimensional cat. That took about four hours for the machine to make.

[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]Click here to purchase photos from this gallery

He then moved on to his next idea, creating plastic keychains. He copied a file he found online onto a memory card, put it in the printer and set it up to make tiger head keychains and embossed keychains with the word "Tigers."

Just like that, the Crothersville High School sophomore helped the college and career readiness class set up its own business.

As part of their lesson on manufacturing, the 11 sophomores in Linda Myers’ class learned about the roles of a general manager, administration, a foreman, research and development, a material handler, production, a logistics supervisor, distribution, a marketing agent, accounting, customer service and human resources.

Once their roles were established, the students put in the work to make, market and sell the keychains.

Henry took care of research and development, production and material handling.

"It takes a lot longer than you actually think it would take, an hour just to do one little thing," he said.

Sales of the keychains started at a varsity baseball game May 6 and will continue through May 21. Proceeds will go toward buying more spools of plastic to use for future projects.

Henry said he likes offering something unique to students and staff at the school and to the community.

"I hope they like it and they see how small-town Crothersville can do stuff," he said. "It’s neat to see how technology has grown. You get a lot of experience from it, and you can build onto that."

The school received the 3D printer and supplies at the end of the 2017-18 school year after Myers applied for and was presented an EcO Network STEM/Manufacturing Grant.

She and then-senior Noah Hoskins were walking outside after touring a pair of Columbus colleges when he mentioned seeing a 3D printer and thought it would be great for the school to have one.

Myers thought it could be given to the science department to use to make robotics parts, but that didn’t happen, and it sat idle.

"I know that I need to utilize it," she said. "We’ve got it. We might as well do something with it."

She was asked to teach a new college and career readiness class, which would help students find out who they are as a person and what they want to do for a career and develop leadership skills.

Since there wasn’t a textbook for it, she talked to a couple of former students who had taken leadership classes in college and used their syllabus to create the class.

"The first semester was all about making you a better you, a better person," Myers said. "The second semester was making you a better person for the community, making you a better worker."

The students researched jobs, wrote résumés and interviewed each other.

The research included a unit on manufacturing facilities. The students made posters for industries in the county, and they learned about the various job opportunities in those places and then took those on while creating their keychain business.

Sophomore Jerrica Barron said she has enjoyed learning about manufacturing, and she’s impressed with Henry’s skills of making the keychains.

"I think it’s really cool. It’s neat just seeing something be made out of nothing because we’ve never really seen anything like that before now," she said. "I’ve never seen a 3D printer or anything, and him getting it to work, I’m so proud of him."

Myers is happy with his efforts, too.

"I’m just fascinated, beyond proud of him to get this," she said. "He tweaks it every day. There’s something he does to it every single day."

There’s only one 3D printer at the school now, but Myers said she hopes to add more. The printer is in a classroom across the hall from her room, and the only other thing in there now is a large table for a robotics arena.

"We want to put more printers in here," she said. "Why could we not make this a manufacturing facility?"

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”At a glance” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

To purchase one of the keychains made by the Crothersville High School college and career readiness class, call 812-793-2051.

Sales run through May 21.