I was not excited at all when my superintendent told me that we were getting a 3D printer. I felt like it was just one more thing that I had to do. I have been very apprehensive about this whole thing since talks of getting one started because it seems scary. I felt like I would fail big time. I’ve never seen a 3D Printer. When would I have the time to do this? The list went on and on. After many talks, and me pushing the idea away, I finally came to the conclusion that this was happening, and I was going to have the printer to begin with. I was going to learn how to use it. I was going help teachers learn how to do this. This was equivalent to the SMARTBoard that I pushed out of my room several years ago. I would compare myself to a toddler having a fit because…I don’t want to. Let me say that I am extremely thankful for a superintendent that always lets me “get there” mentally in my own time.
I talked myself off the ledge, started researching, started digging, and in true Daisy fashion I got really excited. That’s where I am now. After watching several videos and reading books and articles I realized just how much power this “thing” could have in the classroom. I immediately started brainstorming lesson plans and cross-curricular activities that I feel will really have an impact on learning in the classroom. The era we live in is one of learning in 3D. Learning coming to life. We need to touch and see and create with our own hands, which really creates deeper understanding. The thing with 3D printing is that kids really have to think. Especially if they are creating from scratch. Even if they are not creating from scratch they still have to go in and change dimensions, which means you have to use math no matter what.
Today I visited April at Region 5. She showed me the basics of printing, some projects that she had completed, and we talked about really integrating this into lesson plans for teachers. We were really excited! Here are a few things that I took pictures of that she has already created, and a few of my ideas to go along with it.
This activity is quite simple. A student uses a sharpie to draw an object. You are then able to print it. So think big teachers. Geometric shapes for math or a descriptive story for 4th grade writing. Students could also draw a flower for science that they will later label. high school teachers -what about molecules?
This is a book that April suggested that I purchase. The students can read it then design the characters in it. That is what April did. The little sheep and the girl are in this book! Kids could do this with any book – but even cooler, what if they wrote their own story and designed their characters. What a great incentive for kids to really get into story writing – they get to bring their characters to life. Then you could display them in the library. Kids would be so proud!
A catapult – math and science teachers. There are lots of various activities you can do with this. You can start basic in elementary ages with just mean, median, and mode. Then you can go as high as high school students using physics and predictions for their activity. April said one teacher then surprised her class with a little catapult for every student as a Christmas gift.
Guys, I am the worst about putting myself in a box and staying there. I hate getting out of my comfort zone, but that is detrimental to our students’ success. If I am not willing to grow and change and learn then why should they? This is their future. 3D printing = creation, collaborating together, deep thinking- and that’s what drives the world today.
Educators, don’t be like the me that wants to fight against all this new “stuff”. Don’t let your self be overwhelmed with what seems like an unending task of learning new ways to teach the same subject. Kids are different every year. As technology progresses we will keep experiencing constant changes in teaching practices and even classroom management. Just roll with it. Students deserve for us to keep going that extra step for them even when we really don’t feel like it or see the point – because we want them to do the exact same thing in our classrooms.