While coding instruction can unlock lots of great opportunities for people of all ages, technologies that merge coding and design to create real-world objects are an even newer frontier that will create opportunities yet unforeseen for a new generation.
Recognizing this opportunity to bring science, design, and engineering concepts to life for students, science teacher Jay Galbraith of Newark Collegiate Academy integrated 3D printing into his classroom with great results, according to Kipp New Jersey’s blog.
3D printers enable users to convert designs created with computer software into real-world objects right before their eyes. They use layers of fast-cooling molten plastic to create the solid objects. With the printers, students are able to explore science and engineering concepts hands-on.
Galbraith said he had the students make a simple object – a keychain – to create a quick victory for them and show them how the printer worked. He then worked with them to design and print a drain cover that let water pass through while trapping trash and other unwanted objects.
“I was blown away at how well the students did when given an authentic problem to solve, and I thought about how engaging that sort of experience could be for our students,” he was quoted as saying.
The students design objects using a free tool named TinkerCAD, and print the objects using a MakerBot Replicator. (MakerBot printers start at $1,375 for miniature desktop versions.)
For those students whose schools don’t offer 3D printing, there are still opportunities nearby for students to tinker with the printers. Parents should keep an eye out for the Greater Newark Maker Faire at Newark Museum this spring. BrickCityLive.com will post information about the free event once details are made available.