Name: Callie Ballara
School: Samuel Marsden Collegiate, Welington
3D Printing Project: Kiwi Souvenirs
Describe the 3D printing project that you want to be considered for the award?
Students designed, modelled and printed souvenirs that a tourist might buy as a memento of their trip to New Zealand, using the TinkerCad software and 3D printer.
Why did you choose to use this activity?
In Year 6 our Inquiry topic for the term was investigating why people come to NZ. We looked at the differences between tourists and immigrants, and their reasons for coming to visit or live in NZ. When thinking about tourism, we investigated some of the things tourists do or places they visit when in NZ.
The ‘design a souvenir’ activity fitted nicely into the context of our topic, it wasn’t 3D printing for the sake of it, but an authentic task that complemented what we were doing. I had originally thought that we would hand make souvenirs as a craft activity, then saw the potential to use our newly purchased 3D printer instead.
It also enabled us to fulfil the achievement objective from the technology curriculum level 3.
How did you implement and use it?
We investigated what a souvenir was, why tourists buy them, sharing our own personal stories of things we had purchased when travelling and a few students brought examples to school to share. We also had interesting discussions about the kind of things you can and can’t bring into another country. These things helped us establish a criteria for the creation of our own souvenirs. It was at this point that I introduced the idea of designing our own souvenirs and printing them on the 3D printer.
The first thing the students had to do was design a souvenir in their visual diaries that fitted the criteria we had come up with.
- something sturdy that wouldn’t break easily
- not too heavy
- not made out of illegal products ie ivory
- would remind a tourist of their visit to nz
- usually included some uniquely ‘kiwi’ aspect
As a homework task, I set them one of the tutorials to do. Some students found it easier than others, and some were better at persevering when a problem was encountered. It also helped that students could take a ready made design and modify it, which took away some of the complexity involved with designing from scratch. One student took a ready made iphone case and added iconic kiwi words to the back of it as her souvenir. There were many frustrations along the way, particularly when designs were accidently deleted after much time had been spent on them. This part of the process took a lot longer than I had anticipated, and I ended up allowing students to take the school holidays to complete their designs rather than the two weeks I had originally allowed for.
It took over a week to print all of the designs. With this done it was time to reflect. Some students were disappointed with the outcome, the biggest problem we had was not making some parts of our designs robust enough (like the legs on the kiwi) and they broke. The other problem we encountered was not ensuring parts of the designs were properly adhered to each other, for example; a bird’s beak printed unattached to the body of the bird.
We used a hot glue gun to fix most of the problems and the students were incredibly excited to think that they had designed and printed their creations.
What outcomes has it achieved for you and your class?
As a class …
- We learnt that using a 3D printer can bring our designs to life.
- We learnt how to use the TinkerCad design software programme and to help each other when we encountered problems.
- We know what we would do differently next time.
- We created souvenirs that would remind a tourist about their amazing holiday in New Zealand!
Some of our creations can be viewed here.
I learnt to allow a lot more time for students to learn a new software programme. I also think that having done this for the first time, I am now in a better position to help students overcome the more frustrating aspects of the process. I would show them how to ensure parts properly adhere to each other during the modelling process and how to make their designs more robust.
It is difficult as a teacher to find the time needed to dedicate yourself to learning and understanding how a new software programme works before introducing it to students, so inevitably you end up learning alongside your students, learning not to be afraid to say, ‘I don’t know how to do that. Let’s try and work it out together.’