If you are looking for 3d printing project ideas and curriculum, Stratasys has many free educational resources – you just have to know where to look for them and be willing to give Stratasys your contact info to download the lesson plans and project ideas.
From what I can tell, Stratasys is a company that focuses on providing 3d printing solutions for industrial use. If you download any curriculum from them, you will probably receive an e-mail or two within a few days asking how they can help you with your 3d printing needs. The inquiries are worth it, however, in order to have access to the activities and lessons you can use with your students.
I have downloaded the Lessons and Project Ideas, Semester Curriculum, and 3d Printing Modules. Depending on the experience of your students, most of the resources are good for middle and high school students. You can integrate them into a STEAM curriculum, use them as stand-alone lessons, or make them accessible to students in your Maker Space to jump start some ideas.
For today’s ISTE post, I thought I would cover a couple of the sessions I attended that were related to coding and makered.
Leah LaCrosse (@llacrosse) and Jon Jarc (@trendingedtech) spoke about the ways they have used the design process with their classes as the students worked with digital modeling for 3d printers. They included a great diagram from nngroup.com that my colleague and I like because it uses arrows to show that the design process is often not linear, with many steps repeating. We are also hoping to, as they have, find more “problems” that students can try to solve with design thinking. (They gave an example of 3d printing a piece for the school’s long-broken water fountain.)
An interesting suggestion for introducing 3d modeling to students was to have them begin by making something fairly simple with Legos, and to then ask them to duplicate the design using a program like Tinkercad. One workflow tip is to have a Google Form for students to enter the links to their print files to put them in a queue (after they have been critiqued) for the 3d printer.
The 3d printing project that really caught my attention was one in which the students designed vehicles that had to fit the following parameters: multiple parts, multiple colors, no glue, and able to roll across a table. As Jarc described it, this project took nearly an entire semester, but the students were taking precise measurements, iterating repeatedly as they learned more from mistakes, and putting their own creative spins on the designs – making this a deep learning activity that they will never forget. Another fun idea? Fitting the vehicles on top of Spheros to propel them across the room!
Another makered session I attended was sponsored by Microsoft. I know very little about the hardware featured on their “Make Code” website, so I was curious to learn more about at least one of the pieces, the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express. This little kit is actual hardware that you can connect to your computer with a usb cord, and use block coding or java script to program. Even if you don’t have the physical hardware (only $24.95, but it seems to be out of stock), you can use the simulator on the site to code this fun product to do all sorts of things – such as play sounds and light up. Here is some advice on getting started. I had to leave the session early, so I missed out on the awesome magic wands they were making once everyone programmed their Circuit Playgrounds. However, I loved some of the features of the website – including that you can easily transition between block coding and java, the site can be used on practically any device (though you do need USB for the hardware), and you can even use it offline. As you can see from the pictures below, there are lots of things you can do with the Circuit Playground. Since it has a battery pack, you can program it and “wear” it without being wired to the computer.
Of course, these two sessions were only a small sample of all of the makered possibilities showcased at ISTE this year. It’s amazing to recall the years when makered was relatively new to the incredible impact it is having on educational technology now!
This week, I will be at TCEA in Austin with my fabulous colleague, Angelique Lackey. We will be presenting together on Tuesday. Our session is called, “10 Sure-Fire Ways to Light Up Your Curriculum.” The hour-long session starts at 1:15 in Room 19B. It is about using the Project Ignite website to introduce your students to 3d modeling with Tinkercad.
On Wednesday, I’ll be solo. I’ll be presenting, “Code Dread” at 2:30 in Room 13AB. This session is for anyone who has been intrigued by the thought of using coding in the classroom, but has little experience with programming.
FYI – despite having done numerous presentations I always sound nervous. Weirdly, the only thing that makes me nervous is knowing that I will sound nervous which, as you can imagine, develops into a nice little self-fulfilling prophecy. Fortunately, the size of the audience doesn’t seem to impact this, as I am equally as nervous with 2 people or 50. Unfortunately, medication either makes it worse or makes me slur my words so I’ve learned to just tune out my own voice and never listen to recordings. Of course, if you attend either session you won’t have those choices – but I promise not to be offended if you walk out 😉
You may not want to walk out, though, because we just found out that we get to use the Qball (wireless, throwable microphone) during our sessions. So, walking out would mean you not only lose the opportunity of listening to my unique voice, but you would also lose the opportunity to see how horrible I am at throwing microphone balls – a feat I have never attempted, but I am quite certain will bring back flashbacks of the one time I tried to play softball when I was in 5th grade and managed to bonk myself in the forehead. I will try not to bonk you in the forehead, but there is no guarantee.
In conclusion, you may or may not want to attend my two sessions at TCEA and you may or may not want to take out extra insurance before volunteering to be in the audience. If you do decide to brave all of these potential hazards I have mentioned, then please come up and say, “Hi! I am one of the courageous people who read your TCEA post and still decided to come to your session.” That way I will know not to aim for you when I throw the Qball 😉
The long-suffering Flat Stanley no longer has to endure the indignation of postal journeys. Karen Bosch and her students have developed a 21st century solution to Stanley’s travel woes. They created 3D Stanley’s! Download one of the .stl files from their site, and print the “Stanley” of your choice with your school’s 3d printer. Then take a picture of your visitor in its new environment and share the picture in a Tweet or through e-mail (@karlyb or via email to email@example.com).
This is a great twist on a popular school tradition, and I love that Bosch’s students even gave their characters short bios to make them unique!
Since I recently did a presentation on global collaboration, this gives me all sorts of ideas. How about doing some sort of mystery print, where the students download separate pieces, print them, and then have to figure out to assemble them to make something? Or tweeting pics of 3D Stanley’s in front of moderately famous landmarks and having classes guess their locations?
I hope that you can support Bosch and her students with their project. Let me know in the comments if you have any other ideas!
Deborah Lee Rose is an author who recently worked with a raptor biologist, Jane Veltkamp, to write the non-fiction book, Beauty and the Beak. The book will be published in 2017, but you can already access related S.T.E.M. materials here.
Beauty, who had much of her beak shot off by a poacher, was almost euthanized because of her inability to survive. Jane Veltkamp and her team collaborated to save Beauty, and the eagle is celebrating her 15th birthday this year.
One important part of Design Thinking is empathy, and the story of how Beauty’s rescuers cared for her and found a way to replace the eagle’s beak using the technology of 3d printing is an excellent illustration of empathy at work.
There are so many lessons to be learned by the story of Beauty, from the perils of poaching to the fantastic feats that can be accomplished by those who work together to beat the odds. This is a tale that is relevant and inspiring, and sure to make an impact on your students on multiple levels.
It’s always fun to see the progress of Kickstarter projects you’ve backed. I got one of the first batch of 3Doodlers way back when, and things have really changed: new filament colors, tons of project ideas, a 2.0 version, and accessories.
3Doodler is a 3D printing pen that requires no programming – just patience and imagination. I’ve had students who have loved using my original, and some who have given up quickly in frustration. After using it for awhile, I developed a wish list of features that would be ideal for a 3D printing pen – and it’s quite possible that my wishes have been granted.
The 3Doodler Start is designed with younger kids in mind. It’s wireless (HUGE plus – fully charged 3Doodler Starts can supposedly last up to 60 minutes), completely safe with no hot parts, eco-friendly plastic, and suitable for children 8 years and up.
You can pre-order a 3Doodler Start to be delivered in May. They are offering it at a slightly lower price than intended retail for 13 more days. Currently, it is $39.99 for one 3Doodler Start, and $79.99 for a starter pack that includes 8 packs of filament and 8 “starter blocks.” (You need to look at the web site to see what “starter blocks” are.) One warning: you will not be able to use current 3Doodler plastic or accessories with the 3Doodler Start.
I’m probably going to order one. Because that’s my not-so-secret vice, ordering things that are fun and aren’t available anywhere else 🙂 When they start offering class packs, I could definitely see this being utilized in a Maker Space, art room, or any other place that creativity is encouraged!