A Week in Eek, Alaska

City X Project Director Libby Falck listens to ideas of inventions for City X during a brainstorming session.

City X Project Director Libby listens to ideas of inventions for City X during a brainstorming session.

When we secured our presenting sponsorship from 3D Systems we agreed to test the City X Project workshop in a variety of cultural contexts so that we could create the most adaptable educational toolkit possible. That’s why, in addition to running workshops in Beirut, Lebanon and around the US, we brought 3D printing and modeling technologies to Eek, Alaska last week.

The Eek School is a bilingual primary and secondary school that teaches in both English and the local native language, Yup’ik. But the city of Eek was a great fit for the Project for a host of other cultural attributes; it has a population of less than 400, is only accessible by plane, boat, or snowmobile, has no cars or paved roads, and most of the locals practice subsistence living.

But don’t get the wrong impression; the school is completely modern, and given that all of the kids have their own MacBooks and are comfortable with technology, this was an extremely exciting destination for the City X Project, and we could not wait to see what inventions these kids would come up with for the citizens of City X. Here are a few of our favorites:


Nathan was presented with Miguel from City X, who has is facing a health problem.


After brainstorming and clay modeling, Nathan used Tinkercad to make a 3D model of his invention.


Nathan calls his invention “Iron Boy.” It’s a protective suit for the citizens of City X to wear to prevent further injuries!


Lindsey’s character from City X was Omar, who had a transportation issue in need of solving.


Lindsey was a whiz at clay modeling, and she knew exactly what she wanted her invention to look like.


Lindsey invented a flying skateboard for Omar, as a fun and super fast way of traveling home!


Matthew was paired with Sofia, who has a serious safety concern. How can we be safe from fires in our new city?


With the help of his teacher, Matthew began 3D modeling his invention so that it could be 3D printed later.


Matthew invented an “ice spider,” a robotic spider that sprays ice webs (also modeled!) over City X, which melt and puts out fires.