3D Printing in the Classroom

Written by RevPart

3d printing in the classroom
photo by Pete Prodoehl

Kids are amazing learners. They pick up on lessons with ease and carry them for the rest of their lives.

But because kids remember everything, it’s extremely important to introduce complex ideas to them in a fun and age-appropriate way.

One field that often loses kids’ interest after elementary school is STEM: science, technology, engineering, and math. Although kids tend to go into their school years with an enthusiasm for scientific discovery, only about 16% of students leave school with the same level of enthusiasm.

One way to fix this problem is by introducing 3D printing in the classroom. The costs of 3D printing are going down and there are countless educational programs designed for just this purpose.

But why should you try to use 3D printing to teach kids?

Kids at this age are at the perfect place in their lives to learn new things because they’re less afraid of failing or of making mistakes than you or I would be. This means they’re bolder and willing to try new approaches to solve old problems.

It also gives the students hands on learning experiences which can really help lessons stick throughout their lives.

3D printing introduces kids to engineering in a fun way instead of dumping them into a math class or a class full of abstract theories that they can’t put their hands on…which some people may enjoy, but might not be the best for everyone.

And even if your students aren’t interested in a STEM field, they’ll still benefit from learning with a 3D printer. Students who are more invested in history can print artifacts or ancient monuments (maybe Stonehenge!) or can use the technology to create topographical structures like volcanoes.

When students are involved in actually designing the prints—rather than just being the recipients of its results—they also learn about the design process. They learn about revising and prototyping—perfect practice for projects they’ll face later in life.

And, as a bonus to you, the prices for 3D printers and their resins are falling and will likely continue to do so, making 3D printing more and more affordable

If you could have access to a 3D printer for your classroom, what would you do with it? What would you create with your kids if you had the chance?

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