5 Free Educational Resources for 3D Printing
Post in News by Marketing Team on 9th July 2018
Five FREE Educational Resources for 3D Printing
One of the most common questions we receive about 3D printing is, “How will my teachers be able to use 3D printing in a way that aligns with our curriculum?” While many educators agree on the benefits of 3D printing (it’s engaging and motivating for students, it’s hands-on and great for PBL, and it can be applied to real-world problems – just to name a few), they struggle to find ways to integrate 3D printers into their daily lessons and activities. Fortunately for educators, whether it’s 3D models, lessons, or activities, there are plenty of free educational resources for 3D printing available that can help.
Below are five resources that Teq recommends to assist educators as they incorporate 3D printing into their curriculum. While Teq sells MakerBot and Ultimaker 3D printers, and many of the resources below are associated with these brands, these resources can be used with any 3D printer on the market.
Thingiverse is the largest 3D printing community in the world, and Thingiverse Education provides over 300 free lessons using 3D printing for a variety of grade levels and subjects.
In addition to education-specific lessons, there are over a million 3D printable designs that have been created by the Thingiverse user community. Speaking of the community, it’s a great resource for anything you’d like to know about 3D printing – be sure to check it out.
When searching Thingiverse Education, you can choose to search in nine different subject areas (art, engineering, geography, history, languages, math, science, special ed, or technology) and grade levels from kindergarten through higher ed. Each lesson includes a detailed activity plan with step-by-step instructions, learning objectives for students, assessment suggestions, and access to any pre-designed files needed. It also includes information on grade levels and subjects the lesson applies to, the materials required, the estimated duration of the lesson, optimal print settings, and design tips.
Thingiverse was started by Makerbot, so you will see a lot of references to Makerbot on the website, but these resources will work for any of the 3D printers in your classroom.
Makerbot Educators Guidebook
In our opinion, the Makerbot Educators Guidebook is the definitive how-to on 3D printing in the classroom. A digital copy is free, but you can order a print copy for $50.00, which is well worth it. In addition to being a crash course on 3D design and printing, the guidebook includes nine classroom-ready projects with step-by-step instructions. The core standards to which they align for both the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Common Core are also included.
Each lesson is clearly outlined and easy to follow, with information on the estimated time it will take to complete the lesson, subject area, grade level, difficulty, prep time, and required materials. The step-by-step instructions are accompanied by full-color pictures of the parts to be printed, as well as the lesson set-up.
Along with the pre-designed lessons, the guidebook also includes information on preparing your classroom for 3D printing, choosing the optimal setting for your print, navigating Thingiverse, and creating your own project on Thingiverse Education. It also provides an introduction to 3D modeling and tips on post-processing your 3D prints. If you have a MakerBot printer specifically, the guidebook also includes information on MakerBot software and on how to unbox and set up your printers.
Again, if you are new to 3D printing, this is a great resource, and one that you will go back to time and again. It can also serve as a template if you are documenting your own lessons to use each year, or to share with your colleagues.
Ultimaker Core Lessons: STEAM Set
The Ultimaker Core Lessons: STEAM Set will get you up and running with designing and printing. Designed by Ultimaker’s North America Community Team, these lessons give students hands-on experience with the printers and get them excited about learning STEAM subjects. The lessons are based on feedback and guidance from STEAM educators and are recommended for students ages 10 and up. In total, there are 8 different lessons, with each outlining the lesson objectives, skills learned, which resources are required to complete the lesson, and step-by-step instructions from the design phase through the print phase. Some of the primary skills learned using these lessons include executing Boolean operations, producing digital models, and understanding different rapid prototyping techniques and geometric concepts.
Teq Tip Videos
Teq Tips hosts an entire library of useful classroom videos. Our primary goal is to deliver state-of-the-art instructional technology tips perfect for the modern classroom. We have a few videos on getting started with the MakerBot or Ultimaker Printers. Our videos on unboxing your MakerBot or Ultimaker printers include details on how to set up the hardware, how to connect the printers to Wi-Fi, what is included in the boxes with each printer, how to calibrate or level the printers, and how to run a test print to make sure the printers are ready for classroom use. We also have videos on how to replace materials on the MakerBot printer, and how to swap out print cores on the Ultimaker printer.
Makers Empire has a wide range of online resources, most of which require a paid subscription. However, there are a few things that they make available for free, including 3D printing lesson ideas. In this section of their website, there are approximately 25 different topics to help you generate ideas for both how and why you might incorporate 3D printing into your curriculum, including how teachers are enhancing STEM learning with 3D printing and encouraging girls in STEM. Their blog is full of good 3D printing content as well, and you can find plenty of teacher testimonials and information on the value of teaching design-based thinking. While most of the content is around their software and community, Makers Empire is definitely worth exploring.
We hope these free educational resources for 3D printing have put you on the path towards adding 3D printers to your classroom. If you are looking for specific information on 3D printing that you can’t find online, don’t hesitate to reach out to Teq directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, if you would like to learn more about 3D design, check out our online professional development course Teaching with Tinkercad. In this 45-minute interactive session, you will learn how to get students up and running with this 3D design application, and explore the built-in lessons available for educators via Tinkercad.
To learn more about how 3D printing can benefit your school, download our eBook “Why 3D Print in the Classroom?”