From kindergarten through high school, I was involved in a creative problem solving organization called Odyssey of the Mind, which later became Destination Imagination. This non-profit organization is led by volunteers, with kids of all ages joining teams and solving problems together in a short skit that incorporates various skills, such as improvisation, building, acting, and learning. I am still involved with the program as an adult, as a judge. My father coached my team, and my mother coached my sister’s team; both of our teams advanced to the state tournament a few times. You also had to participate in small challenges as a team on the day of the tournament, like building the strongest bridge you could out of mini marshmallows and toothpicks. This actually sounds a little like an activity that the Institute of Materials Science in Barcelona (ICMAB) held at the recent Youth Mobile Festival Barcelona (YoMo)…only their activity involved a 3D printing pen.
YoMo, a live event science fair designed to inspire young people and teach them about careers in STEAM sectors, is part of the Mobile World Congress, which is organized by GSMA and is the largest gathering in the world for the mobile industry. YoMo itself drew in a pretty big crowd last week, with over 3,000 educators and 11,000 children attending the four-day event.
Andrés Gómez Rodríguez, who works at ICMAB’s Scanning Probe Microscopy Laboratory, told 3DPrint.com, “I think that 3D printing technology will be implemented in further educational programs as a way of expanding the creativity of students. The most advantage of 3D printing is that there are an infinite amount of possibilities for the future designers, engineers, scientists, architects…Almost every technological or scientific program can take advantage of the use of such tool.”
Rodríguez and Guillermo de Andrés put together the two-day YoMo workshop, called “Bridg3D: Learning, Engineering, Playing with 3D Printing Technology.” It allowed students to be scientists for a day, thanks to the popular 3D printing pen 3Doodler. ICMAB clearly favors the 3Doodler, having used it last summer in a course the organization designed to teach high school students about materials science. For YoMo, Rodríguez and de Andrés explained to the young students participating in the workshop about the scientific method, and then challenged them to use the 3Doodler to build a resistance bridge between two surfaces.
Not only did the bridge have to unite both sides, but it also had to stand up under a series of weights as well. The students’ only tools were the 3Doodler, pictorial examples of real bridges, and their imaginations. The activity taught them that while sometimes you fail while doing science, or learning how to use a new technology, “the scientific method never fails!”
“We specifically selected the 3Doodler because there is no previous work involved,” Rodríguez told 3DPrint.com. “You simply learn to use it in 2 minutes, and you are ready to go. That way we concentrate the full efforts of the activity into exploiting the creativity of the students that came to our workshop.”
Rodríguez called the 3Doodler “one of the best 3D printing pens on the market,” and we’ve certainly seen evidence to back that up. The popular 3D printing pen has variations for kids and adults, and has been used to doodle everything from lampshades and artwork to clothes, jewelry, and even a life-size car replica! It’s simple to learn, and allows any user to create great works of creative engineering from the ground, or table, up.
ICMAB’s Bridg3D workshop had an excellent reception, and all of the participants, young and old, enjoyed using the 3D pens and their imaginations to jump headfirst into the world of science and 3D printing. There were other YoMo activities centered around 3D printing technology, like an interactive stand that taught kids how to create 3D models from pictures they took with their mobile phones, and several workshops about robotics and virtual reality as well. Discuss in the ICMAB forum at 3DPB.com.[Images provided to 3DPrint.com by Andrés Gómez Rodríguez]