You Might Be a Geeky Teacher is You Spent 3 Days of Your Spring Break in a 3D/4D Printing Photo Origami Class!

The workshop, 3D/4D Design, Printing and Photo Origami  Class, by CU Discovery Services was a three day class offered for educators.  The video was our final project. We designed it in Sketchup, printed it and then used polymers and muscle wire to make the catapult work! This style of professional development offered hands-on experiences with 3D/4D printing and design. We were introduced to cutting edge work with polymers and creating objects that could be inserted into a space and then by introducing heat, changing what the object could do. We studied the design process and worked to solve real-world problems.   

Resources for Photo Origami and some aspects of this this program can be found on the Science Discovery website at:http://sciencediscovery.colorado.edu/resources/teacher-resources/engineering-is-everywhere/photo-origami-energy-design-and-change/
There are additional resources specific to this class are on DropBox at:  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tndzw2odrjx1onw/AAAVZu9RXZ-7ANU9Q1QsjwJLa?dl=0  

Before taking this class, I knew that 3D printing would engage students in our STEM classrooms but didn’t have a clear understanding of the multiple ways that I could provide the instruction needed to make that happen.  My original goal was to learn enough about 3D printing to be able to share it with my staff and students at STEM.  Giving students time in CAD software like SketchUp and Tinkercad is a game changer and  enables them to harness college and career readiness skills at a very young age!  

Taking the class and being actively involved in the challenges has shown me how 3D printing can be an extremely valuable tool in creating prototypes with student solutions to our PBL’s.  CU Boulder is using polymers to solve real-world problems like creating inexpensive robots that can be placed in an area and then activated with light to change their dimensions.  This has medical applications like using it for angioplasty instead of balloons reducing the risk of rupturing an artery.  Adding the 4D dimension with the inexpensive polymers promotes 21st Century Learning Skills and expands horizons!  Imagine our kids working with the same materials that college research graduate students are using to solve problems at CU Boulder!  

We all can’t be an expert at everything, but after three full days, I feel that I have more knowledge to educate our staff on the Lulzbot Mini, it’s local support and how to use the Sketchup and Cura software.  I also feel like I can introduce the use of polymers in an engaging way so that student will want to use these two mediums to create a 4D object that changes shape or moves!    

The SketchUp drawing platform can easily be introduced and incorporated in the technology curriculum in the younger grades as they begin to visualize 3D objects.   

Making mistakes are part of learning.  When using 3D printers, there are ample ways to design, make mistakes, fix them, revise and print again.  This is part of the design process that engineers work through.  There is also a knowledge base with the printer itself.  Troubleshooting is a way of life with these printers and taking this class gave me a great contact and expert partner in CU Boulder’s Eric Carpenter.  Because of this training, he will help us to launch our program, troubleshoot projects and printers and even loan us a 3D printer on a limited basis so that we can print more projects at once thereby offering this experience to a whole class with a reasonable amount of printing time.  



Click HERE to see a video of the finished 3D Dice Thrower created during the training!  

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