Getting Started with 3D Printing in Your Classroom


ETAP 623 Spring 2021 (Byrne) | Rock's Portfolio Page

“What new technology does is create new opportunities to do a job that customers want done.” (Tim O'Reilly).


Overview and Purpose

Welcome to 3D Printing in Your Classroom! Throughout this course we will be taking a look at Project-Based Learning (PBL) and linking those ideas with how 3D printing can achieve those ideas in your classroom. Following that we will be taking a look at what 3D printing is, examining a handful of different options that are on the market, and then designing your own 3D parts that could be printed using even the simplest machines. Lastly we will be tackling career opportunities and what the future holds for this new age technology. The purpose of this workshop is because 3D printers are a buzz word among administrators, so I wanted to introduce some basic concepts and explanations for any teacher looking to start out on this adventure.

Needs Assessment

Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a technique for teaching that involves students learning by doing rather than the old-fashioned lecture/textbook reading, worksheet, quiz cycle. This idea gets students to think more critically and solve problems which will benefit them in the long run and ready them for careers. One (newer age) tool that teachers have either chosen to implement, or got told to implement are 3D printers. These machines are being found within classrooms with teachers that have had no training or ideas on what to do with them so they sit not being used. There is a massive career demand for employees interested in 3D printing, and for more than just engineering, so we should introduce this to students as early as possible to try and peak their interest in this emerging technology.

Performance Objectives

At the end of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Understand the link between 3D printing and Project Based Learning.
  • Analyze what 3D printer could be right for their classroom.
  • Create/Find a 3D model to be printed.
  • Identify potential career opportunities for students.

Course Units

Before heading off into the units, take a look at the following graphic and familiarize yourself with the typical questions that are posed by teachers:

3D Printing.jpg

This mini-course includes the following units. Click the title of a unit to go to its page.

Unit 1: Project Based Learning

Target Objectives: Participants will:

  • Define Project Based Learning (PBL) and learn the pros and cons to this theory.
  • Analyze the connection between PBL and 3D printing.

Unit 2: What is 3D Printing and What Machines are Out There?

Target Objectives: Participants will:

  • Define 3D printing.
  • Examine some 3D printers that are available in the market.

Unit 3: How Do I Find 3D Models to Print?

Target Objectives: Participants will:

  • Create a simple 3D model in TinkerCAD featuring cuts and a hole (teacher led).
  • Create a keychain of their own design (student led).
  • Download a 3D model from Thingiverse to be 3D printed.

Unit 4: Careers and Future of 3D Printing

Target Objectives: Participants will:

  • Examine potential careers for 3D printing.
  • Analyze the future of 3D printing to introduce it to their students.

3D Printing in the Classroom: Course Conclusions and Additional Resources

Target Objectives: Participants will:

  • Note the key take-aways of this course.
  • Reflect on what they've learned and consider how they will incorporate these lessons into their teaching practice.

ETAP 623 Spring 2021 (Byrne) | Rock's Portfolio Page

Extended Resources

NOTE: You will find citations for this course on the Getting Started with 3D Printing in Your Classroom References and Resources page.