Printer in action |

So last week i jump into the amazing world of 3D printing and I am completely hooked. All I want to do now is 3D print. It was truly the most amazing experience I have ever been a part of. However, as any good technology there always has to be a purpose. 3D printing has all of this in one small package.

Let’s first take a look at the project:

For this project my students had to research and design their own International Space Center. Students first researched and wrote a small report on the International Space Center and then got into Project Ignite to design their own. Project ignite is online tinkercad program.

Now on the whole this project may look simple but it covers so many curriculum expectations.

First let’s look at the math:

Math (Grade 6 curriculum):

Number Sense:

– estimate quantities using benchmarks of 10%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% (e.g., the container is about 75% full; approximately 50% of our students walk to school)

– represent, compare, and order whole numbers and decimal numbers from 0.001 to 1 000 000, using a variety of tools (e.g., number lines with appropriate increments, base ten materials for decimals)

– represent ratios found in real-life contexts, using concrete materials, drawings,and standard fractional notation

Throughout this project students are working at reducing and estimating the size of an object. They have to look at measurements that are in decimal notation and in standardize units. In addition, students also have to learn to scale objects down when we print or it would be to long.

Measurement:

– demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between estimated and precise measurements, and determine and justify when each kind is appropriate

Taking an idea from your head and making it a reality always relates to some sort of measurement. In this case students were also required to look at specific measurements while they manipulated the program. Those that were successful at reading these measurements also had a more successful product.

Geometry:

– sketch, using a variety of tools (e.g., isometric dot paper, dynamic geometry software), isometric perspectives and different views (i.e., top, side, front) of three-dimensional figures built with interlocking cubes

– build three-dimensional models using connecting cubes, given isometric sketches or different views

– explain how a coordinate system represents location, and plot points in the first quadrant of a Cartesian coordinate plane

– identify, perform, and describe, through investigation using a variety of tools (e.g., grid paper, tissue paper, protractor, computer technology), rotations of 180º and clockwise and counterclockwise rotations of 90°, with the centre of rotation inside or outside the shape

– create and analyse designs made by reflecting, translating, and/or rotating a shape, or shapes, by 90º or 180º

The whole project dealt in a 3D space. Students learned x, y and z planes and where able to manipulate these objects in the plane. Traditionally these transformational Geometry are taught on a 2D plane making it hard for many students to visualize what is happening. Using a product like Tinkercad allows students to practise and visualize in the proper space.

Students also hit on their writing, reading and science curriculum. Students had to research, and read about the current ISS. They had to know how it operated so that they could redesign the process. Not only did they do this but they also hit many of the 7 C’s that we talk about for 21st century learning. Throughout this whole process students were being creative, communicating ideas, collaborating with others as they had to figure out new tech, Critical think and problem solve out of situations, and be adaptable (which isn’t a c but a critical one non-the-less). Students where so engaged throughout this process and learned a lot about the ISS itself.

Here are some of their designs:

As always it is never about the tech but the planning. This project took a lot of effort to plan and make it pedagogical sound for the students. They had to plan, research and then revise their plan even before they could work in the software. Once in the software portion they had to revise as some ideas didn’t work and even after we printed many of the students revised having learned that their projects wouldn’t work. This whole reflective and planning piece is critical to the success of any lesson involving new technology.

I highly encourage anyone to get their hands on 3D printing and do this in their classroom. Even if you don’t print the aspect of working on Tinkercad was truly amazing in itself. The printing portion was just a nice add-on. Big thanks and shout out to David Cruz who brought the printer to us.