Town History in 3D: Vermont Students 3D Print Historical Buildings for High School Challenge

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3D printing has raised the bar for many processes — and that includes the world of competition — especially for students. Coordinating a truly comprehensive statewide high school competition, several Vermont entities have obvious and connected interest in the ‘Town History in 3D Competition,’ which invites students from every high school in Vermont to put their thinking (and 3D printing) caps on.

Student teams are enlisted to create and build 3D models of Vermont’s historic buildings, being put to the test (along with supervising teachers) in coordinating and managing multiple complex skills and elements required for the competition. One team is invited to register from each high school in the state of Vermont, which is rich in not only American history, but also relevant architecture.

“Town History in 3D is a great competition that intersects students with the world of historic preservation,” said Paul Bruhn, Executive Director of The Preservation Trust of Vermont. “Every community in Vermont is rich in architectural history. This competition helps illuminate these histories.”

CHI-SE-Corner-New-Paint-FallSponsored by The Preservation Trust of Vermont, Google, Hartford High School, and the State of Vermont, students face a challenging and enriching endeavor, with the chance to win, appropriately, new technological tools for their schools in the form of multiple Nexus 7 tablets for the first prize winner and runner up.

Using SketchUp as the required 3D modeling software with 3D printing technology, the spotlight is on the students’ home state of Vermont and the plethora of historical buildings they can bring back to life, while showing their high-tech prowess with 3D design and 3D printing. One of the stand-out features of the contest is that students are expected to ‘design within Google Earth,’ with the models to be imbedded there, for an authentic demonstration of the historical homes’ geography.

google“Town History in 3D utilizes cutting edge technology and the internet to enable students to explore the history of their communities,” said Matt Dunne, Head of Community Affairs at Google. “It’s a new approach to education and historic preservation that connects technology with Vermont history.”

The sponsors have designed a full-circle learning experience for the students, who will be working on the projects for months studying the architectural history of Vermont’s oldest structures, uncovering the details and stories behind the homes, and translating that into a multi-media presentation accompanied by the 3D printed models of the buildings.

sketchupWhile many of the students will be expected to learn to use SketchUp, students from Hartford High School teacher Mike Hathorn’s history class will have a leg up on the competition, as he employs SketchUp and 3D printing to teach his history class. “3D printing has been a critical tool in the classroom,” said Hathorn. “It’s a hands-on method for teaching history to a technologically minded generation. It’s mentally and technically challenging, and above all it’s fun.”

Students will be judged on:

  • Technical mastery
  • Architectural accuracy
  • Historical research
  • Presentation

With an invitation to sign up by November 14, the general command for students is: Research and Rebuild. This is a highly organized competition, stretching into next spring, with a number of training events and workshops centering around propelling students in the right direction with their 3D printed models. 3D training seminars will be presented at Hartford High School and also via Google Hangout for faculty who require a remote connection.

Peter Drescher, Education Technology Coordinator, says “The Agency of Education is very pleased to be a part of the group supporting this competition. This kind of learning is the kind that truly engages learning from a project-based format. The connection to community gives an even bigger impact, and shows both students and communities the power of technology to engage students in preservation of our Vermont architectural treasures.”

Historic Miller House in Springfield, VT

Historic Miller House in Springfield, VT

Along with learning about and getting in touch with their communities, students will continue further social enrichment and skills needed for the future in being required to present to their peers, teachers, mentors, and experts.

Judging will take place on March 25th, with the final event at the high school Olympiad of architectural history in Vermont. Teams are to be present to have the final culmination of their projects demonstrated by putting their 3D printed models on the corresponding geographical point on a magnified Vermont map — with corresponding QR codes for each model and its presentation.

Along with the judging, students will be given critiques on their works so that they can complete the circle of learning anticipated from the completion. Working in student teams from two to ten people with faculty advisors, each team is given full rein to produce multiple 3D printed historical home models.

Town History in 3D Partners:

  • The Preservation Trust of Vermont
  • Google
  • Vermont Office of the Creative Economy
  • Vermont Agency of Education
  • Hartford High School
  • Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Vermont Tech Jam

Have you, your children, or students entered this completion, or a similar one? Tell us about it in the Town History in 3D Competition forum at 3DPB.com.

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