iMake iLearn – 3D Printing and Using Board Builder

iMake iLearn

This is the last addition to the series of 3D printing and documenting student learning.  These original posts document a project from beginning to completion as well as includes student examples of how DE Board Builder can be a transformative tool for documenting student learning.  Enjoy!

Original blog post in May 2015 on iCreate iLearn Blog

Research on Plastics Project

Sometimes it isn’t easy to incorporate new technologies.  3D printing is an amazing technology but it requires some challenges that need to be consider to have a successful learning experience.

  1. Limitations of printing time – If you only have one printer, you need to allocate enough time and scale your projects to a manageable size.  If a print takes more than 30 minutes, it will become a nightmare to print 18 projects.  Don’t create your own nightmare!
  2. Building an understanding of the technology – If you have never seen a 3D printer print, you aren’t likely to be able to create a successful print the first time.  Use a website that allows students to customize instead of create from scratch unless you plan for multiple iterations of a design.
  3. Find a curricular link – We used the Big 6 research model around the general topic of plastic.  Plastic has so much importance in our lives and it is important for students to learn about plastic.  Math and geometry are also an easy connection.  See my lesson on geometry and 3D printing for just one idea.

So here are the steps that our LMC director, Leslie Wilson and I did using our Cube Generation 2 printers.
Step 1
We met to create a timeline that would enable our students to research and create with plastic.

Step 2
We introduced different tools each week.  Week 1 the focus was on research so we used Board Builder with Discovery Education as the tool to have students document their questions and research but also it had the flexibility to add the 3D design and creation documentation too.  When choosing a 3D design tool, we limited student choice but chose a tool that would allow them to customize and make the design their own.  I chose Crafternoons and asked that students design a bracelet, ring, or tag to ensure a design that would print successfully and in a timely manner.
Step 3
Make sure that your schedule builds in enough time for students to play.  We chose to have students create two designs and print each design so that they could learn from their first design.  This is also why we chose a more limited option of bracelet, ring, or tag because this is the first time that many of our students have seen a 3D printer print.
Step 4
Document the joy… the work… and the learning

Sharing the Final Print

IMG_1034Sharing is one of the most important parts of learning.  After a month long study of plastic and 3D printing, our students shared with each other and family members about what they had learned.  See the blog post about the project – Research on Plastic.  It was amazing to realize how much each student had learned depending on where his or her interest was focused.  Discovery Board Builder really was the ideal tool to capture the process of research and creativity while supporting individual student creation.  Check out the two videos below of some of the fabulous boards that our students created.



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  1. Allen said:

    It was amazing to realize how much each student had learned depending on where his or her interest was focused. Leaflet printing

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