This week was a particularly short week at Mount Vernon for the Lower School. A conference day on Wednesday interrupted a 5-day 3D printing week, meaning that a 4-day experience was needed. The primary goals for this second 3D printing lap for these second graders was making “holes” with Tinkercad, and using the ruler to help make precise measurements on the digital models.

Those were MY learning design goals.

For the students, the goal was have them realize they could make new objects that interacted with existing objects… to give them one more arrow in their I-can-make-an-impact quiver.


AUTHOR’S ASIDE This last point is particularly important to me because that what the real purpose is behind these maker-centered opportunities that we design for students: To help them realize that they really ARE innovators and they really CAN make an impact. Sure, they are making pencil toppers just for themselves right now, and that might not seem like a significant impact… but don’t fall for that misconception.


Making a pencil topper was a simple choice for a project that would meet all of these goals. The design constraints around size also make for an excellent 3D printing project because

  • more objects can be placed on the bed for simultaneous printing
    • quicker job completion
  • smaller objects print faster
    • which means student will get to examine and critique their creations sooner
      • which means they can learn from their pHails, and the pHails of others
        • which means they can iterate and improve sooner
          • which means they’ll get to examine and critique version 2 sooner
            • which means they can iterate and improve sooner
              • which means… etc

In not time at all, we’ll have plenty of toppers. Now, if only I knew what colors they wanted :-)

Some social media associated with this #MakerEd moment…

Your turn. Any thoughts to share?