Innovate & Educate: 3D Printing Lesson Plans

In Colorado, university architecture students 3D model and print design challenges from example clients. In a high school in Illinois, freshmen in an engineering course are introduced to digital manufacturing by developing and 3D printing their own custom USB cases. At Indiana University, a professor uses 3D models of prehistoric teeth to teach students about the diet and habits of animals that lived during the Ice Age.

Educators at all levels across the country, and across disciplines, are expanding the possibilities of using 3D printing in the classroom, encouraging students to build the critical thinking skills and experience that will shape the future of our workforce.

A montage of 3D printed sunshade structures.
At the University of Colorado Denver, students designed and 3D printed sunshade structures, allowing them to visually understand design decisions and embrace complex models in a three dimensional reality.

This fall, Formlabs invited educators to enter our Innovate & Educate Challenge, developing and sharing lesson plans that encourage creative thinking and hands-on learning through 3D printing.

Thanks to those who submitted, we’re able to share free resources with a wider learning community dedicated to inspiring students with rich, immersive experiences.

We were thrilled to receive many thoughtful entries from all over the U.S., but, ultimately, our judges could only choose one entry to win a Form 2 desktop 3D printer.

A map of the United States highlighting which states submitted to the challenge.
Formlabs’ Innovate & Educate Challenge received entries from across the country, pictured above in the darker blue.

The Winner: The Science Visualization Initiative

The Science Visualization Initiative (SVI) submitted a lesson plan that’s part of their 3D digital arts program Cool 3D, designed for use with their traveling STEAM Bus.

The lesson teaches students about orthographic views, perspective, Platonic solids, polyhedra, and dodecahedrons. The ultimate goal is to provide an in-depth understanding of how complex 3D designs are often the key to innovation, and can lead to creative and exciting careers in a wide variety of industries.

A 3D model of a dodecahedron
As part of SVI’s winning lesson plan, “The Dodecahedron,” students use a 3D printed Dodecahedron Kit to learn the principles of orthographic views as a way of translating three-dimensional space.

SVI’s winning lesson plan, “The Dodecahedron,” guides students through an artistic exploration into links between our 3D world and 2D methods of visualization. Download a free PDF of the lesson plan and related .STL and .FORM files.

The organization will receive a Form 2 3D printer. Keep an eye out for an upcoming blog post about their work!

Runner Up: Somerville High School

Second place goes to Somerville High School’s “Principles of 3D Modeling” lesson plan, an in-depth, engaging overview of 3D modeling functions, three dimensional space, and inventor basics that has students design and print a custom Lego.

The school will receive a coupon for $400 off a Form 2 or resin, and will also be featured on our blog.

The Form 2 desktop 3D printer is professional-level technology that's easy to use and manage, with applications across science, engineering, art, and design.

A 3D model of a lego
Somerville High School “Principles of 3D Modeling” lesson plan has students use calipers, micrometers, and other tools to correctly measure Lego pieces and create their own unique 3D model that will fit into a generic Lego piece. Students then 3D print their part and analyze how it compares to what they designed.

Help Us Build a Community of Innovative Educators

This is only the beginning of building a community breaking new ground in the way students of all ages learn and prepare for bright futures.

Stay tuned for more stories and resources about how educators are using 3D printing, including more downloadable lesson plans from the Innovate & Educate Challenge.

Missed the challenge but still want to share? Formlabs invites you and your colleagues to develop and submit lesson plans on 3D printing along with an applicable .STL file to be part of our growing community of educators across the world. Visit the submissions page to learn more and submit.

Download the Winning Lesson Plan

Experience the quality of 3D printing with the Form 2: Request your free sample part below.

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