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K -12 Education

Opportunities for 3D Printing in K–12 Education

The innovative 3D Printing technology is revolutionizing the way we approach education, offering students and teachers alike a new way to explore and create. From science and engineering to art and history, 3D printing is opening up a world of possibilities for hands-on learning and innovation.

There are exciting opportunities for 3D printing in K-12 education curriculum. It can help to bring ideas to life in a tangible form that can help facilitate new understanding.

3D Printed Models to illustrate Complex Ideas
Simply providing students with a 3D printed model that they can hold in their hands, turn around and look at from all angles can be very helpful.

Examples might include molecular/atomic models, biological models (i.e. internal organs), or geometric models that illustrate mathematical concepts. For physics classes, models for things like catapults, working gears, pulleys, etc. can be printed to illustrate specific principles.

Replicas of Famous Figures and Historical Locations
Teachers can 3D print busts of famous figures so students can experience them in three dimensions. Historical locations such as Tajmahal, the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Roman Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, etc. can also be printed.

Architecture and Interior Design
Have students design a house or other architectural structure, or design the interior of a single room, then 3D model and print the design.

There are software tools available that make these kinds of designs easy to create with mostly dragging-and-dropping components where you want them. Just make sure to pick a software package that can export to an STL file for printing.

Engaging reluctant learners
3D printing is still a very new technology that is not readily available to your average learner. It has a ‘wow factor’ that can engage students who would otherwise have nothing to do with their learning. Successful adoption of 3D printing for education is just like any other technology. It becomes easier with practice.

The trick is to make 3D printing not only simple, but fun. At the end of the day, 3D printers are creative tools. When you start seeing them that way – instead of temperamental and expensive pieces of lab equipment – you’re way more likely to have a go.

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