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Saturday
Oct242015

Making at Windward: Joan and Rich's Blog

Eighth-Grade 3D Printed Projects Make an Impact Far and Wide

Back in May the eighth-grade physics students were given a tough job: create models of playground equipment that would, in the words of their design brief, “encourage curiousity and deepen understanding of the world around them.” As has already been noted in a news release they had the opportunity to use a variety of different materials, including 3D printing. The variety of solutions was amazing – students made elaborate climbing equipment, seesaws, slides, merry-go-rounds of all descriptions and even a rock climbing wall. 
These 3D printed models took on a life of their own this summer from Orange County to San Francisco. First, in June, we (Joan and Rich) chaired a session at San Francisco State for the Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The session was entitled “3D Printing, Arduinos and other Open Source Tech in STEAM Learning.” Windward projects featured heavily in our lead-in survey presentation, followed by a talk given by Regina Rubio about the 3D printed coral project we reported on in our blog back in the spring. After the session, we couldn’t resist showing off one of the playground pieces when we found some flowers just the right scale.

Later that same week, we were invited by Benetech, a nonprofit that finds technology solutions for the visually impaired, to a workshop at the San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation.  There, we met for two days on standardsa nad best practices for 3D printed models to teach visually impaired students STEM subjects.  We took many of hte playground models with us and for two days blind and sighted participants alike played with them.  We are still in touch with many participants, and hope to coordinate a program in which students create STEM learning models for visually-impaired kids their own age.  (Of course, this means the signed kids have to learn the concepts well, too!)

Closer to home, the Discovery Cube museums in Orange County and Los Angeles invited us to create maker tech displays for their Inventor’s Week celebrations this summer.

Cindy Beals joined us in Los Angeles;

and Geraldine Loveless in Orange County.

 

Joan gave a talk both places featuring the student work. Many educators, parents and kids stopped by to compare notes and be inspired.

One of the most exciting places this work is featured, though, is right here at Windward. We have created a 3D Printing Design Rules presentation that uses these projects as its examples, so that this year’s students can start off with ideas and examples to go beyond with their own projects. After all, makers know that you can take a few pieces can come together to make an awesome whole!