Photos: 10 creative 3D printing initiatives in classrooms around the world
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MakerBot Academy is a STEM initiative to put a MakerBot desktop 3D printer in every classroom in America. Any full-time teacher can register a campaign to get one through DonorsChoose.org, an online charity that helps educators crowdfund for things they need in their classrooms. Once the project reaches its goal, the purchase order is sent to MakerBot. Brooklyn Tech, pictured here, is a high school in NYC that used MakerBots to further their engineering curriculum.
The Make.Digital Initiative‘s goal is to advance digital literacy and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education. 3D Systems has kits and curriculums they are using in classrooms around the world for K-12 programs. This Level Up Village provides kids age eight to 12 with STEM enrichment through after-school programs.
Smithsonian X 3D
This initiative allows students to explore some of the Smithsonian’s most treasured artifacts and objects with their SIx3D program. They can print museum objects or things they designed or riffed off themselves. Smithsonian is also offering supplemental materials to educate about the history of these objects, like this mask of Abraham Lincoln.
Airwolf 3D printers
Airwolf, a relatively new name in the 3D printer market, makes desktop printers that they are also aiming at classrooms around the world. The company already has some in use in hundreds of classrooms, including middle and high schools in Florida and California and a trade school in China. Students created these objects through a workshop at school using Airwolf printers.
Kidesign is an ed-tech startup based out of London that is working to bring 3D printing into primary schools. They make systems including printers, software, fun games, and creative tasks for young kids to design and print their own toys. They also have a six-week program that gets students designing their own cities, using Autodesk’s 123D Suite — teaching them urban planning as well as STEM.
Crayola and 3D Systems
This isn’t technically made for the classroom, but it could have some interesting implications for elementary schools in particular. Crayola and 3D Systems partnered to turn coloring books into 3D printed creations. Color Alive allows kids to download an iOS or Android app to photograph images from these coloring books, which the app converts to a 3D character. 3D Systems will then print it and ship it to them.
Pitsco STEM curriculum
Pitsco Education, which has been making STEM curriculums for years, now offers a 3D printing curriculum for middle and high schools that has a few types of projects. One school in Florida has been using the Afinia printers that come with the kits to teach engineering to middle schoolers.
Leapfrog for Education
Leapfrog is a company dedicated to bringing 3D printing technology to the next generation. They currently offer two curriculums that come with a large 3D printer. One is for ages 10 to 12, which helps teachers and students get comfortable with the technology. It was designed in partnership with a Dutch primary school, and incorporates history, biology, and vocabulary lessons as well. There is also a lesson plan for high school students, age 13 to 18, which focuses on the business applications of 3D printers and allows students to experiment with infill techniques and temperatures of materials.
3D Printed CO2 Cars
Last year, a man named Corben White who teaches at Auburn High School in Auburn, Illinois had his senior level drafting class design and 3D print CO2 race cars, instead of using wood as they had previously. They used Autodesk Inventor and MakerBot’s Thingiverse to create and download designs, and constructed them from there. It ended in a race.
Founded by MIT graduates, NVBots is a 3D printing company that a few guys built right out of their fraternity house. They launched an equity crowdfunding campaign for this cloud-connected, fully automated 3D printer, and have since raised a lot of money in seed funding. Now, they’re looking at bringing the technology to schools. They also provide educational modules that work with the Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.