This is How Teachers Can Use 3D Printers to Support Student Learning

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For most of your life, when you talked about printers you talked about the kind of printers we all know: They print (in color or black and white) on paper, and sometimes have multiple, helpful functions such as faxing and scanning.

And for a long time, that was it—the cream of the crop and a diverse cream at that. But there’s a new piece of technology that’s radically changing not only printing but education and manufacturing, too: 3D printers.

What Are 3D Printers Used For?

3D printers are used in a range of professions, from medicine (for prosthetic limbs) to airplane manufacturing (for parts). They have a host of benefits such as less waste and reduced pollution and packaging. And for educators, they hold a lot of potential to lend assistance to a valued topic area, the field known as STEM or science, technology, engineering, and math. 

As an example, students can use 3D printers to recreate an artifact or fossil; design, build, and test bridges; make matching letter tiles, and make maps.

3D printers are especially useful in the application of hands-on learning which is much more engaging for many learners than the traditional “sit and listen” type of learning. Making objects with 3D printers allows students to imagine, design, create, problem-solve, touch, etc.

10 Ideas for 3D Printer Projects

The graphic below gives ideas for exciting 3D printing projects for elementary school students; however, 3D printers can be utilized to enhance education at all levels (preschooler-to adult). Teachers can also create objects to show students hands-on and visual representations of concepts.

Using 3D Printers for Your STEM Program

Video Presentation on 3D Printing


What would you like to make if you had a 3D printer? Comment below!

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