ZEELAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Students from a Zeeland elementary school will auction off three handmade checkerboards and their respective 3D printed pieces after a months-long project.

Bill Boerman’s 4th-grade class at Woodbridge Elementary School was presented this year with the driving question of how to improve learning through construction and 3D printing. The students took the challenge upon themselves and decided to make checkerboards through engineering and design.

It started with, “Let’s sketch out what this can look like,” Boerman said. “Now from that, let’s try to come up with a prototype. They found the hard way that some of their designs didn’t work the first time. So how do they go back to the drawing board and start over.”

Local engineers and Hope College helped these students, who in the end designed chicks and ducks’ pieces to represent the school’s and district’s mascots.

“I wanted to not make a normal checker piece,” said student Elliot Haisch. “Normal checker pieces just stack on top of each other. I wanted to make it differently. So I tried to put the crown around the nest.”

The students learned that the crown of each piece needs to be constructed a bit thicker than originally planned.

“They fell off really, really easily,” Haisch said. But after a couple of adjustments, sturdy checker pieces were successfully printed.

While Haisch’s group worked with the 3D printer, Cole Johnson’s group was assigned to design and build the checkerboards.

“There’s Birchwood and Mahogany wood,” Johnson said. “We cut it in 2 x 2 inches wide, and we used wood glue to put them on a board base.”

Students also designed a website that is currently auctioning off the three boards. The bidding will end next Friday.

“The proceeds will go in two different directions: half of it will go towards supporting project-based learning here at Woodbridge,” Boerman said. “The other half is going to go to the Gateway Center here in Holland, where some of the students have served throughout the year.”