Our grade 4 class has volunteered to spearhead an area of technology at Surrey Centre Elementary. Already a number of our students have taken the initiative to create projects for the 3-D Printing Club, as well as during our Wonder + IDEAS (Genius Hour).
But now it's time to move even further, and get everyone up to speed. Personally, I think I was a little worried that I might not know how to do it, so I've been procrastinating a bit. But the best thing to do when you're worried? Just jump in--and tinker. The best thing about virtual platforms is that if you make a mistake, you can simply press UNDO and try it again...and again...and again.
I've been following the basic lessons from Tinkercad, and it's really quite easy and fun. (I think I just designed my own keychain!) I also think that any kids that have played Minecraft will find this to be just another day in the park, since they've designed and played in a 3-D world. Even playing with Lego and other building blocks will make the transition relatively seamless.
What I find fascinating is that while virtual reality, video games and TV/movies are trying to pull people into the digital, virtual realities, 3-D printing is doing just the opposite: using virtual technology to build and create objects for our physical reality. (I'll save this discussion for another day.)
Cross-curricularly, I can see connections to art in terms of many of the elements involved: shape, form, colour, line, space, perspective. As well, there is so much accurate measurement involved, so students are using math constantly.
Finally, I can see 3-D printing being not only a great design and prototyping endeavor, but for the Entrepreneurs Fair for grade 5s, it can actually be a cost-effective manufacturing process of smaller items, such as key chains or rings.
I'm even more excited now that I've personally spent more time playing around with 3-D printing. And isn't that what education and learning should be about? Tinkering, playing and learning--all at the same time.
Daniel H. Lee
This blog will be dedicated to sharing in three areas: happenings in my classroom and school; analysis and distillation of other educators' wealth of knowledge in various texts; insights from other disciplines and areas of expertise that relate and connect with educational practices.