Our school recently purchased a 3D printer for the first time. These systems integrate making into learning. It is being housed in the library to add design thinking to the curriculum by inviting students to design, print, test and evaluate their work. If the process doesn’t work they iterate the design and problem solve the issues. This allows students to easily fabricate a prototype for design ideas that could only be accomplished in 2-dimensional drawings in the past.
When students apply design thinking they build not only an object, but excitement over the use of critical thinking over learning procedure and recall. 3D printing helps to change the mindset of the student. It fosters an environment where it is okay to fail. It encourages experimentation in their learning.The emphasis is on learning by doing. The software and tools can be used to teach science, technology, engineering and math concepts.
In our school we are promoting the use of the 3D design and printing through student directed teaching. Four sixth grade students were chosen to learn a 3D modeling software named Tinkercad. This software is a web based program that allows students to create their design using shapes and spaces to explore the creation of a 3D object. The students were exposed to the printer and how it works and now work as a team to help each other to learn the software. They have to problem solve any issues that occur and develop new solutions. The ability to work together and to ultimately teach their peers is a step forward in co-learning with the teacher.