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Teachers, 3D printing and STEAM: Engineering

In our fourth article in the series looking at how the be3D Academy can help teachers in STEAM lesson planning, we take a closer look at be3D Academy’s engineering lessons. 

Engineering in action 

Providing students with the tools to learn STEAM fundamentals will help them in future studies and prepare them for a career in related fields. As one of the STEAM subjects, engineering is a vital skill for all students in becoming confident creators, inventors and designers. However, we need to move teaching engineering from a set of theories and facts and put it into practice to bring it to life. Students should have the opportunity to experience the engineering design process firsthand through problem solving and thinking both creatively and critically.  

3D printers can inspire future generations of engineers by being part of the engineering process, to challenge curious minds and encourage hands-on experimentation in the classroom. With no need for lengthy training sessions on using the be3D printer, students can experience engineering in real life.  

As teachers, you can engage and inspire students to build 3D models to assist in their learning and enhance their ability to problem-solve. Just as with other skills, 3D modelling requires learning and honing. Students can design, model, prototype, and adapt their projects by using 3D printing technology.  

be3D Academy  

Working with teachers, we have created YSoft be3D Academy which has free detailed projects, 3D models, lesson plans, and curriculum guidelines. Our teacher approved platform helps you bring 3D printing into the learning environment, to enhance student engagement and interest in engineering.  

be3D Academy has a wealth of free resources that make teaching engineering topics using 3D lesson plans easy and effective. You simply select the subject and age group, then choose the lesson plan. Our teacher-friendly lesson plans and resources can help introduce the 3D project to your students. With lesson plans featuring a variety of tools, such as 3D model files, videos, student worksheets, and presentations, introducing the 3D project to students is a breeze.   


Engineering lessons 

Looking specifically at lessons that involve engineering concepts, below are examples of the projects you can introduce in your classroom from be3D Academy: 

  • Astronaut Toolkit: students are introduced to 3D printing in space and ISS (International Space Station) equipment. The lesson challenges students to design their own screwdriver bit or wrench for an astronaut. They then 3D print and modify their designs using the 3D printer.
  • Casting Mold: students are challenged to learn CAD modelling and digital sculpting tools to create a casting mold. They develop and communicate design ideas using computer aided design. Examples are provided to explain the casting mold concept. 
  • Cell Phone Stand: this lesson encourages students to experiment with demonstration models and make design decisions on how to improve their design and aesthetics. 
  • Da Vinci Bridge: students assemble a model of Leonardo da Vinci’s bridge using the 3D model beams provided. Students then design and 3D print their own set of beams then test the completed bridge to discover its load bearing capacity. 
  • Digital Lathe Printing: students explore the different types of lathes and their applications before designing and printing an ornate leg for a piece of furniture. By the end of this lesson, students should be able to evaluate 3D printing as a process compared to a digital lathe. 
  • Mousetrap Racers: working in groups, students will design and 3D print components for a Mousetrap Racer. Then they will look to make improvements to increase the distance the Mousetrap Racer travels. 
  • Robots on Mars:  in this lesson students will design a tool or piece of equipment to aid the ‘Mars innovation’.  
  • Rubber Band Plane: students work in groups to design and 3D print wings and horizontal stabilizers for a rubber band-powered plane. 

3D  models 

As well as having students personally design and print their own projects, teaching using 3D bespoke printed models also deeply aids lessons. Using 3D models can help to explain key principles or topics, encouraging students to engage in the subject. This gives students a first-hand opportunity to see how the technology works as they can touch and move the different pieces of an assembled model. 

be3D Academy’s model database is free to use and contains a wide number of models. Along with 3D printing guidance, you can use these additional models as part of your own engineering lessons.    

Teaching the future 

With be3D Academy’s engineering lessons, your students can be inspired and shown how engineering is relevant and exciting. Our free resources help students and teachers use their hands and their heads to solve real-world problems. Get ready to teach the future and transform your engineering classes by unlocking the world of 3D printing.  

By using the training videos, lessons plans, models and curriculum guidance, available in YSoft be3D Academy you will have everything you need to use 3D printing to teach engineering. The team at Y Soft are committed to education and are passionate about giving you the tools you need.

Register now for access to the materials to inspire and prepare your students for the challenges of tomorrow. 

You may also want to read the other article in this series A Guide to lesson planning for 3D Printing

Elke Heiss
Elke Heiss used to be our CMO, a role currently held by Adam Bishop.
View all posts by Elke Heiss

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