Sep 2, 2016 | By Benedict

Education site Class Tech Tips has curated and shared six of the best 3D printing lesson plans submitted by Thingiverse users. Some of the lessons are targeted at high school students, while others are more suitable for younger learners.

There’s only one thing more satisfying than being part of a 3D printing project, and that’s teaching others how to get involved with the additive manufacturing game. A few weeks ago, Netherlands-based 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker launched its ambitious 3D printing Pioneer Program through which school teachers and university staff can share useful tips and resources for bringing 3D printing into the classroom, but Thingiverse, MakerBot’s huge 3D printable file hub, has a fair amount of educational content of its own. Class Tech Tips’ Monica Burns sifted through the site to identify six excellent 3D printing lesson plans submitted by Thingiverse users. The lessons include step-by-step instructions, photos, 3D design files, activity sheets, and more.

3D printing lesson #1: Educational Brake Caliper

Submitted by Thingiverse user Chriswh86, this fun project teaches high school or middle school students how to 3D print and assemble a racing-style brake caliper with quick-release brake pads and dual pistons. The project comes with 3D printable STL files, as well as additional documentation and a quiz. Additionally, the printed caliper fits on a shelf or desk as a display item. “Since the start of my obsession with 3D printing and computer aided design, Motorsports has been on my mind,” Chris explained. “The Educational Brake Caliper is my first Motorsports-related design to be released to the public.”

3D printing lesson #2: GO-GO AirBoat

Thingiverse user Macakcat’s GO-GO AirBoat lesson plan combines mathematics, physics, and electronics. When assembling the 3D printable AirBoat, students will discover how payloads affect a ship’s buoyancy, speed, and stability. They can do this by loading the 3D printed vessel up with one-cent coins until it is at max capacity, whereupon a depth sensor will alert the young crew that the boat is ready to set sail. As well as giving students hands-on experience of 3D printing, the project also helps kids learn about resistors, capacitors, diodes, LED's, DC motors, bipolar junction transistors (BJT's), Darlington pair transistors, phototransistors as triggers, circuit board layout, and soldering.

3D printing lesson #3: Beast Belly Fraction Game

Submitted by Thingiverse user prof_Ruggles, the Beast Belly Fraction Game helps younger students understand the mathematics of fractions, teaching them to form whole numbers by adding the 3D printed fraction tokens together. Each kind of fraction token has a different thickness according to its value, so that a ½ token is double the thickness of a ¼ token etc. Students can then “fill the belly” of a 3D printed monster with different combinations of these tokens.

3D printing lesson #4: Density and Buoyancy Investigations

Thingiverse user mshcott’s 3D printing lesson shows students how objects of different shapes and densities float according to Archimedes’ Principle. The user’s lesson plan actually divides into two “labs,” one to help students investigate volume and the relationship between cubic centimeters and millilitres, and the other to help them investigate density and buoyancy. By 3D printing small cubes with different infill settings, teachers can let students see two seemingly identical objects display different levels of buoyancy—a cube with a 5% infill will float, while a cube with 100% infill will sink.

3D printing lesson #5: Sphero Clipper Boat

One of the featured winners from the MakerBot STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) Makeathon in San Francisco, ttd’s Sphero Clipper Boat lesson plan shows K12 students how to use the Sphero SPRK, Tickle programming, and 3D printing technology to create a boat. This boat can be made to complete several challenges, such as timed races, search and rescue missions, and more. Teachers can choose particular plugins for their activity of choice, depending on the needs of the curriculum.

3D printing lesson #6: Sodium Potassium Biological Electrogenic Pump

Designed to teach high school students about sodium and potassium ion paths across a cell membrane, Thingiverse user stevegong’s 3D printing lesson covers biology, physiology, and physics. The creator of the kit suggests that teachers could employ a “flipped classroom” methodology, with students required to assemble the platform and explain the process of generating a membrane potential to their instructor.

While MakerBot’s Thingiverse is perhaps not taking as much of a hands-on approach to its educational content as Ultimaker appears to be, the popularity of both platforms shows that educators are keen to introduce 3D printing to their students—and help out their teaching peers while doing so.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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