As students across the country went back to school this month, many were greeted by a new game changing learning tool: The 3D printer.
Educational uses for 3D printing have expanded over the past two years. Free software such as SketchUp (formerly Google Sketchup), MatterControl and new low cost 3D printers have allowed increased accessibility to schools. In 2013, the United Kingdom Department of Education even launched a campaign that supplied 21 schools with 3D printers and supporting curriculum.
However, in the United States 3D printing has been primarily limited to high schools and universities. Enter the City X Project and James an 11 year old from Appleton, WI, who are leading the integration of 3D printing curriculum in elementary classrooms. Watch:
City X Project is a Common Core State Standards-aligned 3D printing and design thinking curriculum for 8 to 12 year-olds. In partnership with Made in Space, City X Project ran the first workshop with James’ class in Appleton, WI. As part of the workshop, James, dubbed “Space Kid,” was challenged to design 3D printed solutions for citizens of City X, a figurative human settlement on another planet where everything is created with 3D printers. James invented the “Health Coaster” to help address health care problems that citizens of City X face. To celebrate James’ imagination, creativity, and problem solving, his design will be printed on the International Space Station next year.
City X Project is providing their toolkit for free! The toolkit is a detailed guide to facilitating the City C Project workshop.
What’s in the toolkit?
- Step-by-step guide to running the City X Project workshop.
- Point-by-point alignment with Common Core Standards.
- Ready to print workbooks and “citizen cards.”
- Add-on activities, additional materials, and equipment.
With the increasing emphasis in STEM, don’t be surprised to see more 3D printers in schools this year. NMC Horizon Project‘s Technology Outlook for STEM+ Education 2013-2018 forecasts an increase in schools adopting this new technology and describes the academic advantages 3D printing curriculum:
3D printing allows for more authentic exploration of objects that may not be readily available – from design to production, as well as demonstrations and participatory access, [3D printing] can open up new possibilities for learning activities.