3D Printing in the STEM Lab

Herman L. Horn Makerbot 3D Printer

Students and teachers have been trying out the two new Makerbot Sketch 3D printers in the Herman L. Horn STEM Lab. During three MakerMonday workshops, student participants studied how 3D printers worked, learned to use Tinkercad, and designed their own creations. Tinkercad is a free online collection of software tools that help people all over the world think, create and make. The skills students learn using this tool will transfer to more robust programs when they are older, such as Autocad or Fusion 360.

Tinkercad

After learning how to navigate Tinkercad, students created their first project – nametag keychains. Then they learned to import images to create pencil toppers (or just their own personal statues) of various animals and sports icons. As their final project, students designed and printed their own mazes. So fun!

Marble Mazes

During Professional Development time, teachers received short, basic training on how to manage using Tinkercad and the 3D Printers with their students. The goal at Herman L. Horn is to get students exposed to designing in 3D and the idea of 3D printing at an early age…before they are tracked into career paths in secondary school. Teachers were encouraged to have their students DESIGN and CREATE the objects that are printed in the lab rather than downloading pre-made objects for printing. In this type of project, planning is key for both the teacher and the students.

Teachers were given an overview of how 3D printing will work in the STEM Lab.

Next, the group brainstormed ideas for 3D printing that meet core standards in Virginia.

And finally, teachers had the optional opportunity to try to design their own keyring for printing.

Over the coming weeks, the 3D printers will be working hard as teachers and students begin incorporating 3D design activities into their lessons.

Designing Animal and Plant Cells in Minecraft Edu

I had a chance to work with Mrs. Scott’s 5th Graders are Fort Lewis last week as they worked to design plant and animal cells in Minecraft Edu. I love this activity for so many reasons, but most importantly, the conversations that ensued as students worked in small groups to design and build their cells.  If you stood in the middle of the room and just listened, you could hear so many things going on that we strive for in classrooms:

  • Meaningful discussion of a topic using vocabulary as they discussed which materials to use for their cell parts and why.
  • Embedded use of the writing process as students worked to label and describe cell parts. It mattered to them that their spelling and grammar was correct.
  • Collaboration and communication skills being used as students worked to explain their ideas and build their model together. Students who were more versed in Minecraft helped those who weren’t, and there was great discussion and compromise as they decided exactly how to build their project.

I wish I could capture all these things to show other teachers, but I haven’t found the best way to do that yet.  There’s nothing like standing in the middle of it.  So this post is my attempt to show what I can.

To begin, we discussed the design challenge and the expectations of students when they worked in groups in Minecraft. We talked about the different types of players in Minecraft projects.  (The chart below was helpful later in class for students who began wandering off to do their own thing or destroying others work.  Group members were able to quickly name behavior and redirect their errant group member.)

minecraft directions

Then, students had 10 minutes to talk about what they were going to build and make decisions such as who would host the world, what jobs each group member would complete, and basically how they would accomplish the task.  It was tempting to skip this part and just jump right in, but I think the upfront discussion lead to better group work once students were in the game.

20190117_132041120_iOS.jpg

Each group picked a person to host the world, and all the other players in the group joined that world. They sat at tables together so they could easily talk in real life while working together virtually.  I have found this setup works really well for small groups.

Finally, at the very end of the time, students recorded a tour of their world using Flipgrid. I know that the tours would turn out better with screencasting software, but we didn’t have that option this time so I just grabbed iPads and had them record on one computer.

You can check out their tours here:

https://flipgrid.com/9d49110d 

I love how all the groups approached this challenge differently.

If you want to try out this design challenge in your own classroom, here is the design brief: Plant and Animal Cell Design Brief

We just used the Blocks of Grass world in creative mode.

A huge “thank you” to Mrs. Scott for always being willing to collaborate and integrate technology.

*This lesson originally came from Joshua Thom and a lesson he posted in the Microsoft Community.  You can view the original lesson here: 8Bit Cell Tour I adapted it a bit to align with the Children’s Engineering Design Model.

**Cross-posted on The Learning Collaboratory here: Designing Plant and Animal Cells in Minecraft Edu

Water Conservation Projects with Adobe Spark

After their experience with their Level Up Village Global Scientists projects, students in Mrs. Meredith’s class wanted to create a media message to encourage people to save water.  They had learned that, in their community, water waste was one of the biggest issues. Check out some of their water conservation projects using Adobe Spark.

Morning Group

Afternoon Group

These students are helping make our world a better place! This project addressed Sustainable Development Goal 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation.  Learn more about the SDGS here – http://www.teachsdgs.org/

This project was also posted here: Fort Lewis Digital Archive.

Small Group Center Ideas

Our division has really been talking hard about small groups.  Our literacy plan requires small groups in Language Arts, but teachers are also asked to come up with ideas for Math, Science and Social Studies — even cross-circular activities.  Here are some ideas for using Technology in small groups.

 Minecraft Edu (Use Prompts to match your content – area, perimeter, models of science or social studies concepts, novel settings, etc.)  — All Roanoke County teachers and students have accounts.

Breakout Edu (Digital Breakouts)https://platform.breakoutedu.com/ ; Create a free teacher account to find the free games; Example: Finding Frosty – https://platform.breakoutedu.com/game/FINDING-FROSTY

Formative (Game Based) Assessment Websites

 Reflection

Coding

 Organizing

 Creating

Are there any other ideas or resources that you use in your classroom?