CCSD students get creative with STEM to build solutions

CCSD students get creative with STEM to build solutions

The Clark County School District (CCSD) provides students in all grade levels with programs enriched in STEM curriculum, and students continue to flourish with it.

One example is the newly formed technology club at Dennis Ortwein Elementary School, where students are challenged to use their design skills to help their school community.

The Ortwein Innovators is a solution-based club where students are presented with problems by their school community and tasked with using their creativity to design 3D-printed real-life solutions. The Innovators, a group of more than 15 students, meet twice a week with the lead advisor and computer technician, Mx. Jessica Vasquez. Mx. Vasquez incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) into the students’ main objective. 

“Our Innovators are going through the engineering process and utilizing technology throughout,” said Mx. Vasquez. “They identify a problem, draft a solution, test their prototypes, revise dimensions and lastly print their finalized solution. Mathematics plays a large part when it comes to precise measurements to allow functionality in their design.”

Mx. Vasquez has worked in the District for 15 years and was inspired to start the club by wanting to bring innovative technology to students and provide equitable opportunities for all.

Students learn the basic skills as junior graphic designers, including measuring techniques and drawing before transferring their work into a 3D modeling program. Fourth and fifth-grade students in the Innovators are designing things such as a watering can for plants, fidget spinners, dragons, pencil toppers, bookmarks and are even working with the Nevada State Police to design solutions for problems officers face.

The Innovators’ broader mission is to foster a generation of empathetic problem solvers driven by the desire to help others through their unique designs. 

Learn more about Ortwein Innovators at