Authentic ideas for K-12 Students and Classrooms
I have a 3D printer in my classroom or school – now what do we do? What curriculum can we support or extend with 3D printing?
Medallions of Honor
Each October, ITS partners with our local library to host the Monster Mile, and costumed-race through the streets of Monticello. This event precedes Treats on the Streets, a trick-or-treat event that invites families into local businesses for safe trick-or-treating.
ITS partners with a local 5th-grade classroom to design and 3D print the race medallions for the top three boys and top three girls in the one-mile race. Students start by making simple sketches of Halloween characters with paper/pencil. Old race medallions are examined and measured, and students develop a set of guidelines for this year’s medallions. For example, must they all be circular? Can they be shaped? How much room do we leave for the ribbon? What text requirements will we enforce?
Students then spend some time in TinkerCad with ITS and their classroom teacher, learning how to make basic designs, how to use measurement tools and how to manipulate shapes and text. Winning entries are selected and printed and awarded to race winners at Treats on the Streets.
Think of all the athletic and academic contests your school holds each year. Can students design the medallions and awards, do a test 3D print, and send the files to a diecast award company?
In this activity, students learn to convert drawings into 3D art and learn which design elements make an object printable or unprintable.
Missing Game Pieces
How many board games do you have in your classroom or home that are missing key components? Do your Life cars have enough people pegs?
Challenge students to measure and design game piece components that will extend the life of your current games, or develop new additions to make games even better!
Several industrious designers have created and shared content that is ready-to-print.
Consider opening the opportunity for local libraries, daycares, and patrons to request refreshed game pieces as well!
The Game of Life Cars:
Star Wars Battleship Vessels:
Read Snowflake Bentley with your students and then introduce them to snowflake generation. Students will practice symmetry, simple block coding and more!
When ITS provides dessert for an event, we use custom cookie cutters and our local bakery to create our treats. If you have a local bakery that would partner with you, an upcoming dessert concert or a foods and nutrition class, consider making custom cookie cutters with your 3D printer. We use TinkerCad to generate our custom designs, but you could also use a sketch in Adobe Illustrator, Inventor, etc.
Students could also check with your preschool programs to see if they need cookie cutters for play-doh activities or stencil painting. Preschool programs often use specific cookie cutters for dough manipulation related to their theme, and cookie cutters make great paint tools. For example, if a preschool classroom were studying weather, maybe they would like some various cloud models, lightning bolts and raindrops for students to use at the Play-doh table.
Several years ago my daughter wanted to be Katniss for Halloween and was in need of a Mockingjay pin to complete her ensemble. We ordered one from Amazon, but as the anticipated delivery date continued to extend it was clear that we needed a second idea.
A quick sketch, a live trace in Illustrator, and an import into TinkerCad soon gave us our own (yellow) Mockingjay pin. A little brass spray paint had Katniss looking authentic in no time!
Another year, she went as Amelia Earhart and needed a set of wings to complete her costume. The 3D printer provided the look again.
The jewelry ideas are endless. Any number of items can be printed and affixed to earring posts, jump rings and more to create rings, pendants, earring pairs, keychains, and brooches. Visit Thingiverse or do a quick Google search to see some existing ideas and help you get started!