3D Printing

Integrating a 3D printer into the classroom curriculum.

xyz printer
This page is based around a Unit Plan created to introduce 3D Printing in primary school. The idea is to immerse the printer into the classroom as an integrated item without it being seen as an alien item. The best analogy is to consider it as a form of authentic publication in the same way that posting student writing on the web gives a purpose to their production. We don't want the printer to be an imposition but rather as a motivation to help with the development of design and technology skills. 
The ideas presented are transferable between models of printers.  This example of integration utilised the XYZ DaVinci Jnr. 3D printers are evolving so rapidly, that our use here of this particular printer should not be seen as an endorsement, merely an illustration.

As it is the first time the students will encounter 3D printing there are some software skills that they need to develop which need to be scaffolded cautiously.

To introduce the requisite skills gently and yet also produce something significant easily, I chose two core projects. After investigating the grade curriculum looking for a possible integrated topics. I chose and aligned Science, Math and English learning outcomes based around a subtheme that stemmed from the science's curriculum requirement to consider Volcanoes in shaping the Earth. Using that as the basis I looked at the math and English aligning Learning outcomes which support and extend that theme.  Since this page is about 3D printing not about the integration I will focus on the two main activities that directly lead to 3D printed output. The skeleton unit plan is attached below. The teachers' resources were collated into a padlet.com page - see padlet page
For a discussion and information about the integration of Math and English Learning Outcomes please see the Integrating 3D subpage.

The plan was to get the students to end up with two finished 3D objects. One terrain based model volcano per group (small group project work with collaboration) and one individual 3D model printed representation of a volcano based on 3D objects (individual take home product).

1.create a 3D terrain model of a student (group) selected volcano.  
    • split the terrain model in half, 
    • add a vent, 
    • add a magma chamber
2.create a 3D object model using a cone, sphere, cylinder,
    • set slope in proportion to chosen volcano
    • scale
    • align objects to create volcano
The 3D terrain model is part of group project in which the students have researched information about the volcano and culminates with them making a presentation to the class about their findings together with showing their model. The 3D object model is an individual construction which illustrates the student's proficiency in manipulating 3D object software
The students are required to use Google Earth, to locate their chosen volcano. They gather information about the volcano from the Smithsonian popup. Then they measure the distance to the volcano using the ruler tool in Google Earth.  Next the students place the latitude and longitude recordings into a website which will extract the terrain map. Depending on which quadrant their volcano is located in they may need to place minus signs in front of the latitude and/or longitude.  The students use the website to align a box over their volcano, then scale the altitude by a factor of 2 (to accentuate their model) and download it. If there is an error in the volcano file construction the teacher will assist with the fixing of the file using meshmixer software. The terrain file is loaded into Tinkercad to be customised. It has its base (plinth) removed and depending on the capabilities of the students, it is split in half and has a vent and magma chamber added. The file is then exported for printing.
With the second exercise the students individually create a shaped representation of a volcano with 3D objects using Tinkercad. If capable, the students can calculate the slope of their volcano using Google Earth. They use the ruler tool to create altitude measures around the volcano at a radius of 5km. They then average those measurements and minus from the summit altitude. That figure gives the rise over 5km from which to calculate the slope. That slope is then put into Tinkercad as a ratio when modifying a cone.

These two 3D printed outputs should be a fulcum around which other activities in English Math and Science are based. They also support 21st century skills.

There is a simple training exercise described in Make Olympic ring.pdf below which gives novices practice with Tinkercad to develop initial skills with using the software. This exercise can be used as a training introduction prior to the core volcano sessions. A second training exercise is provided called Step two room name.pdf which introduces the use of Holes, the alignment tool and manipulation of shape sizes. Giving these extra software familiarisation sessions will be useful to speed up the process of working with the volcano models.

For a great creative range of 3D prints available for download I would like to recommend Murray Clark's collection in Thingiverse 

Subpages (1): Integrating 3D
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