3D printing is becoming increasingly popular in elementary schools, with many educators seeing its benefits. Teachers have used it in schools to create toys, models for learning activities, and so much more. This article will discuss the many reasons 3D printing is such a valuable tool for educators and provide a few examples of how it’s being used in schools today.
3D printing is a great tool for the classroom, but it’s often left out of classrooms because of its high price tag. Printers can be expensive with some costing thousands of dollars. Time is also an issue because educators need to create a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) or a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) curriculum to go along with these costly devices. Teach Beacon offers affordable prices on both equipment AND lesson plans, so you have nothing holding you back from using this amazing technology in the classroom.
First, let’s learn a little more about 3D printers and what they can do for your classroom.
How 3D Printing Works
3D printing is making three-dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The printer uses additive processes. In an additive process, it lays successive layers of material down in different shapes. 3D printing is the opposite of the traditional subtractive manufacturing process, which involves taking away materials to create an object.
The process of 3D printing allows children to create complex shapes that would be difficult or impossible using traditional manufacturing methods. The items they produce are both safe and fun for all ages, making it an excellent learning experience in STEM fields.
Introduce Students to Technology and Engineering
One of the most common teaching techniques used with 3D printers is to print an object that shows a basic scientific principle. This technique illuminates complex ideas in simple, tangible ways and acts as a magnet for students’ attention—making learning fun! It is a great way to introduce engineering and technology to children.
For a 3D printer to work, it must use specialized software. Designers, engineers, mechanics, and many other professionals use computer-aided design (CAD) software. It is a common tool for professionals in STEM fields. CAD software is used to design airplanes, medical devices, buildings, automobiles, and so much more.
Tinkercad is a free and easy-to-use software, and it is the perfect introduction to CAD software. Teachers can combine the power of Tinkercad with affordable 3D printers and lessons to create an amazing classroom experience.
The future is here! Our 3D printers are affordable and educational for your students. Connect with Teach Beacon to find out how you can get a printer in the classroom today.
Engineering: Force and Motion
3D printers are a great tool for children to learn about engineering and science! They allow them the opportunity to explore force and motion in a new and innovative way. Kids can use these machines as tools that will help with their understanding of gravity or air resistance. For example, printing plastic gliders is a great classroom project for students to learn about engineering concepts.
Students are not just learning about science; they are being introduced to the excitement of 3D printing. This is an important skill for tomorrow’s engineers!
Create Prototypes of Designs
Unlike traditional manufacturing methods, 3D printing does not require the use of molding or casting. Instead, it builds objects layer by layer, using additive manufacturing processes. This makes it possible to create complex shapes and designs that would otherwise be difficult to produce in the classroom.
3D printing is a great way to introduce children to the creation of prototypes. By allowing them to design and print their objects, they can better understand the invention process. It can also create new designs or inventions models, allowing children to see their ideas come to life.
Improve Problem-Solving Skills
While children have a natural curiosity to explore and learn, they sometimes lack the knowledge needed for certain tasks. For example, many kids may want to design something useful but don’t know how or where to find the tools to bring their project to life. To allow these little geniuses to go on adventures in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) fields, they need the support of teachers, schools, and the proper tools.
Imagine being able to print out a working model of your latest invention. Or what if you could hold a three-dimensional copy of your favorite character in your hand? With 3D printing, these things are not only possible, but they are also becoming more and more commonplace. And as technology continues to evolve, it is also becoming more accessible to people of all ages, including children. 3D printing is a powerful tool for fostering creativity and problem-solving skills in children.
The ability to create three-dimensional objects gives children the opportunity to experiment with unique designs and solutions. Students learn problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and self-confidence through the trial-and-error process.
Bring your STEM and STEAM lessons to life with 3D printing. Connect with Teach Beacon to find out how you can get a printer in the classroom today.
Encourage Collaborative Learning
Collaborative learning is a process where students work together to achieve a common goal. It can take many forms, but all collaborative learning experiences share certain features, such as promoting social interaction, fostering creativity, and encouraging critical thinking. Research has shown that collaborative learning benefits students. For example, it can help them develop important social skills, such as communication and teamwork. It can also encourage them to think creatively and solve problems independently. Collaborative learning can promote leadership development and improve academic performance.
In the classroom, collaborative learning experiences can take many forms, from group projects to discussions and debates. No matter what form they take, these experiences can play an important role in helping students to learn and grow.
3D printing activities are a collaborative process in the classroom. Students work together in groups to design their 3D printed objects. The teacher provides the initial guidance on the design (i.e., design a glider), but the students work through the details of the lesson together to determine the wing design, the thickness of the materials, and so on. By working together, students learn about teamwork and communication while they create their unique objects.
Classroom Activities with 3D Printers
3D printers are becoming increasingly popular in elementary schools to engage students in hands-on learning. There are many ways students can use 3D printers in the classroom.
- Students can create models of historical landmarks or geographical features. This allows them to study the history and culture of a place by looking at a 3D model of it.
- Students can create models of molecules and other objects that are too small to be seen with the naked eye. They can get a close-up view of how chemistry works.
- Students with special needs can benefit as well. For example, a student who is blind could have a model of a solar system created that includes raised Braille text. Each object in the solar system would have Braille text with interesting facts about the planet.
The Future of Education is Here!
Our mission is to enable educators and students across the globe with innovative technology, whether they are in a traditional classroom or online. Introducing the 3D printer as an educational tool in will help develop an interest in STEM fields while improving problem-solving skills and building teamwork abilities. The possibilities don’t stop there; this technology has value across many subjects, including history, literature, and art. Provide your students with new avenues for creative expression with 3D printers.
Teach Beacon believes in the power of hands-on education and we want to provide every student with the opportunity to use 3D printing technology. We offer affordable prices on both equipment and customizable lesson plans, so you can put this technology to use in your classroom today. Connect with us for a free demo!