Upland Heights Elementary Teacher Uses 3D Printer to Engage Students

Due to the shutdown last spring, she was unable to use it in her classroom right away. She said she used the shutdown to inform herself on the logistics of the printer.

“The shutdown put a hold on my class getting to 3d print,” Woodman said. “I did use that time to refine my plans for when we returned, and this is the first year the students are getting to use it!”

Woodman said she is integrating the use of the 3D printer into her reading lessons.

“I wanted the kids to learn more about 3D printing and how to apply their reading skills to 3D printing,” Woodman explained. “My plan was for the students to individually create something that could be printed, and bookmarks were the perfect object to print. The first thing students did was read a non-fiction article. Then we discussed and answered questions about 3D printing, students had to follow a checklist and complete tutorials on a 3D printing website called Tinkercad, and then finally I gave each student a book of step-by-step instructions, or procedural text, on how to create their own bookmark. The instruction book gave them all the specifics needed to create the bookmark, but also allowed them to make it their own.”

Woodman said that she has been impressed by the way the students have learned to use the 3D printing website, Tinkercad.

“Every kid has learned how to use the program well,” Woodman said. “I think reading and following tutorials helped them get familiar with Tinkercad, so they felt prepared and ready to create on their own.”

Woodman said computer programs and in-depth reading assignments like this engage students and encourage them to learn more applications to the “real world.”

“I think computer programs like this are relevant to students today,” Woodman said. “Their world is technology driven so incorporating 3D printing was engaging to them. It was also surprising to them that they had to use their reading skills in the process.”

Woodman said she strives to give her students an authentic learning experience each day in her classroom.