Feb - 2015

Spyder Byte – Jane Yarnell


This edition of Spyder Bytes features a brilliant 13 years old named Jane Yarnell. Jane is one of the outstanding students at Black Pine Middle School in Berkeley, California. When technology classes were removed from the 7th-grade schedule at Black Pine Middle School, teacher Christine Mytko took the opportunity to create a new program that wasn’t limited by curriculum boundaries and could inspire the imaginations of her students.

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3D Printing Gives Jane Yarnell A Chance to Visit the White House

There’s nothing quite like having your ideas recognized by the White House, especially when you are in middle school.

For Black Pine Middle School science class the journey started when they developed a project to use advanced technology to produce 3D models of the internal microstructures of such things as eggshells and snakeskin. The project involved using a powerful x-ray beam at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s Advanced Light Source, located at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to get high-resolution scans of samples, then used open source visualization software and 3D printing to make enlarged physical models, revealing the samples’ internal microstructures.

Jane and her classmate Sam Schickler were selected to visit the lab to complete the project. There, scientists treated them as colleagues, something that greatly impressed Jane, who had hands-on experience with a tool, used by scientists from all over the world. According to the Lawrence Berkeley Lab website, Jane and Sam became the youngest people to ever use this technology.

The project won Best in Class at the San Mateo Maker Faire, earning Black Pine Middle School a trip to the first-ever White House Maker Faire. Jane and Sam, recognized for their contributions to the overall project, were chosen to represent their class at the White House.

“It was exciting to be included among a wide range of big ideas at the White House Maker Fair,” said Jane, “not just commercially viable or marketable projects, but creative uses of futuristic technology.”

Expect to see a lot more firsts from this young maker.


When Freedom to Fail Encourages Progress

Thomas Edison said the most certain way to succeed is to try one more time. For Black Pine Middle School 8th grader Jane Yarnell, trying one more time to 3D print a complicated Ferris wheel project meant 15 failures before she got it right.

She wasn’t daunted, and her failures weren’t heckled in class. In fact, they were shrugged off with a challenge. “How are you going to fix it?” her classmates asked. She figured out the problem, fixed it and printed this complicated make (LINK).

The freedom to fail is part of what attracted Jane to 3D printing in the first place. She could take on new challenges, and most importantly share and learn from her mistakes.
Now her designs focus on solving problems. Jane believes that over time the freedom to fail element of the maker culture can also change society’s penchant for disposable goods. She is confident that 3D printing can empower people to repair, not discard, things because they are broken.

These experiences have lead Jane to believe that failure is an accepted part of the process and only comes when you abandon a project. Sage advice we can all learn from.


Jane Yarnell
Age: 13

Born and raised in Berkeley, CA

Member of the Black Pine Middle School Maker Club

Favorite vacation: Spending the summer with her grandmother who lives in the Yorkshire Dales National Park in Northern England.

Pet: A beagle-basset, who is a total dingbat. Super sweet, just a little silly.

Where History and Technology Collide – Preserving the Past With 3D Printing

Several weeks ago, a devastating fire tore through a Moscow museum, damaging more than one million historical items. This loss is disturbing to Jane who believes 3D printing technology can help. Passionately interested in where ‘technology and history collide’ she is excited that 3D printing can be a vital way to preserve artifacts and important works from the past.In various projects throughout the world, there are efforts underway to use 3D scanning and printing to create museum quality replicas and preserve ancient monuments. Jane is particularly interested in archiving ancient books. She is currently designing a long-term bookmark that can be used to mark key pages without damaging the book’s delicate spine. This copy of her notes (illustrated below) details the basic functionality of her concept.


When technology classes were removed from the 7th grade schedule at Black Pine Middle School, teacher Christine Mytko took the opportunity to create a new program that wasn’t limited by curriculum boundaries and could inspire the imaginations of her students. Centered on 3D printing, the Black Pine Middle School Maker Club was born in Fall 2013. Comprised of a group of 24 students (with a waiting list!) in 6th- 8th grades, the Maker Club uses a combination of low, medium and high-tech materials including seven 3D printers, three scanners, a 3Doodler and some laptops. One of their projects was accepted to the East Bay Mini Maker Faire and then the ball really started rolling. The club soon participated in the Bay Area Science

Festival, the San Mateo Maker Faire, the White House Maker Faire and most recently the 3D printer World Expo.

According to Ms. Mytko, the Maker Club continues to be a sandbox to experiment with new projects and let the kids develop a variety of skills beyond technology and science. The club regularly hosts educators from all over, including as far away as Singapore, to share their experiences and help educators feel more comfortable to bring a maker program to their own school.

Ms. Mytko shares the club’s progress on a blog Tales of a 3D Printer. If the Black Pine Middle School Maker Club hasn’t inspired you yet, visit Ms. Mytko’s blog and let these kids school you.

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