The other day, I was talking to a friend about the arts and crafts projects we were assigned back in elementary school. It seems that some types of projects are universal – no matter where you went to school, if you’re of a certain age you probably were assigned the same kind of art projects that other kids everywhere were working on. One thing we both remember creating in grade school was “3D art” – which, in those days, involved carefully gluing crumpled bits of tissue paper onto a drawing to give it texture and make it “pop out” from the page.
How times have changed. 3D art is something entirely different these days; today’s elementary school students are being taught how to design with 3D software and how to use 3D printers. And it seems, encouragingly, that these children are loving it, going so far as to work on further learning and creating with the technology in their free time. A fifth grader at Armenian Mesrobian School in California was so excited by the technological skills he learned that he spent his summer using them to design and 3D print a model of his school itself.
Michael Krikorian used Tinkercad to design a 3D model of the full Mesrobian campus, which he then 3D printed on a MakerBot printer. The carefully designed model includes all details of the campus, from the multiple buildings (the campus houses a preschool as well as an elementary, middle and college preparatory high school) to the trees out in front of the school. He brought the model into school when classes resumed a few weeks ago, and his teachers and administrators were suitably impressed, enshrining the model in a trophy case in the front office.
While many children are first exposed to 3D printing in the classroom, Krikorian is actually a step ahead of his school. He used his own printer at home to create his school model, which he designed himself – so he’ll have a head start whenever he begins learning 3D designing and printing skills at school. Armenian Mesrobian School recently acquired a 3D printer for the first time, in an effort to expand their STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) curriculum. They ultimately want to use the printer to teach students about technology in the classroom.
Last year, the school put the printer to work when a sixth grader needed a part for a science fair project. Rather than having to order it and wait weeks for it to be delivered, he found an open source blueprint for the part online and 3D printed it with the school’s printer, with help from faculty. The sixth grader’s project was an eye-opener in terms of how 3D printing can be used for more than just classroom instruction – it can also be used to aid students’ work in other classes and activities.
I suspect that Michael Krikorian’s skillfully designed and printed school model will generate a lot of interest in the technology among other students at the school – some of whom may spend their next vacation designing and printing their own masterpieces. Discuss further in the 3rd Grader 3D Prints Model of School forum over at 3DPB.com.[Source/Images: Asbarez]