Meet Steve... the famous Steve of Minecraft. This week Nathan Patterson from Radiant Fabrication designed a small Steve for our students to use to create their own Steve. It was an excellent example of starting small and working out the kinks. Students now have a mini Steve that they have created. Our next step is to create larger Steves to use in a Stop Motion video.
3D printing is a new technology that can really transform the learning environment in a school. With all new technology it is sometimes very difficult to imagine if you don't understand what the technology can do. In our journey of creation with 3D Printing, we started with printing designs that had already been created to better understand the possibilities but also how the 3D printer works.
I introduced 3D printing through a Discovery Education board that I created for students. We started with Thingiverse which is a website full of creations that can be printed on a 3D printer. Students created accounts which allow them to "heart" different designs. Thingiverse also has customizable designs which is what we used to create classroom name tags for our SP Design Lab.
Entry Level Creation - Charmr
We started to explore the idea of student designed charms using Charmr. Students in our after-school program really enjoyed this tool. The advantages to this type of printing is that it is excellent for entry level creation and prints in a short amount of time. We have created school charms for our rainbow loom because you can copy and paste multiple charms to the build plate and let the printer go.
Intermediate Level Creation - Tinkercad, Radiant Li
We have been extremely fortunate to have Nathan Patterson from Radiant Fabrication teaching our students about 3D printing. Students started using Radiant Li, the software that his company developed and offers as a download from their website Radiant Fabrication. Because of the similarities to Minecraft, many of our students have found it an easy creation tool.
We also looked at Tinkercad, another free web based software for 3D design. We ran into a slight problem with our computer compatibility with Tinkercad so I have a little bit of investigating as to what happened that caused the site to not work today. We found that only 5 of our lab computers were compatible as we have older operating systems that are not compatible. We have a school account for our designers with Tinkercad that is monitored as it requires a parent creating the account or the subscriber to be over 13 years old.
3D Printing - The First Print
There is something so magical about watching your first design print. Listening to the 3D printer warm up and getting ready as what you have created in the virtual world becomes part of the physical world. Slowly the extruder pushes and lays down the PLA to create your design. It is important that students are present when their designs are printing. Through challenges of web based 3D programs not working, our students persisted and have created their first printable design.
Reflection is a powerful part of the learning process as prints will fail. Sometimes we like to skip this part of the process but without reflection, the process is not complete. This is the most magical and frustrating part of the process because it encourages learners to reach out and ask questions. Why didn't it work? How could I change my design?
And the learning cycle continues.....
October - Cardboard Challenge
October in the SP Design Lab has been creation with cardboard. We have had some amazing creations and great collaborations. One of our fourth grade teams worked together to create a cool game while others have created robots, time machines, a pet dog, houses, and more. This creation activity has helped our learners to look at recyclable materials as opportunities for creating and repurposing.
November - Games
The month of November will be a focus on games in the SP Design Lab. Minecraft EDU, board games, and iPad game creation will all be a focus.
Minecraft EDU will start with a tutorial world this month so that all learners have access to learning this virtual game. We will be using the tutorial world that Max created that allows expert users to challenge themselves in another tutorial world while offering the introductory tutorial world for the new player.
Board games will also be an important part of the choices as well as iPad game creation apps like Pixel Press Floor where creators can design Mario like games using the iPad and paper planning design.
December - Coding
December is the month of The Hour of Code which last year was a wonderful opportunity for our students. Besides using Code.org, students will have the opportunity to use Spheros and an Ollie to understand how to program robotic objects. Scratch will be introduced with Makey Makeys for students to explore the possibilities of creation and coding.
Funding - Our Generous Sponsors
The SP Design Lab has been very fortunate to receive two generous donations from Madison4Kids and Walmart to help fund new technologies and opportunities for our students. Thank you to both of these organizations for believing in what we are doing to provide all of our students with opportunities to create and learn.
There is something so magical about watching your first design print. Listening to the 3D printer warm up and getting ready as what you have created in the virtual world becomes part of the physical world. Slowly the extruder pushes and lays down the PLA to create your design. This week is the start of printing our designs. Through challenges of web based 3D programs not working, our students persisted and have created their first printable design.
This week Max shared one of my favorite Minecraft scenarios that he has created. It involves teams of students who spawn under the water and are transported to an island where they must use resources and create tools to build a bridge to another island and entice their two cows to the other island. It is an amazing challenge of working together to gather tools and resources as well as how to build a bridge that will work. The cows need food in order for them to follow the player to the other island to complete the challenge.
What I love most about this scenario is that it offers all players a range of challenges. Students work together and learn from each other in order to complete the challenge. It also helped to have two fabulous mentors - Max K. and Nolan B. As teams faced challenges, Max and Nolan mentored them through some of their questions while providing timely advice about what they might want to do or what they might not want to do.
Here is a quick video overview of the world as well as the Minecraft EDU zip file of the world that Max K. created.
We have been extremely fortunate to have Nathan Patterson from Radiant Fabrication teaching our students about 3D printing. Today we dove deeper into using Radiant Li, the software that his company developed and offers as a download from their website Radiant Fabrication. Because of the similarities to Minecraft, many of our students have found it an easy creation tool.
So we also looked at Tinkercad, another free web based software for 3D design. We ran into a slight problem with our computer compatibility with Tinkercad so I have a little bit of investigating as to what happened that caused the site to not work today. We have a school account for our designers with Tinkercad that is monitored as it requires a parent creating the account or the subscriber to be over 13 years old.
What you want for me to play with cardboard? What about Minecraft? These are just a few of the responses that I heard this week. Several students looked at me like I was talking crazy while others couldn't wait to get started. Others sat and watched and after 10 minutes were completely engaged in making something that only they could see.
Here are some things that we have learned in only two days.
Having limited materials causes wonderful challenges. We didn't have enough cutting tools, scissors, or tape. Of course we can buy more but is that really the solution? Several students resorted to crying when the teacher wouldn't get them the materials that they wanted... but soon realized that part of a collaborative environment is that the teacher is no longer who you need to talk with but rather other groups who are using the materials. Learning how to share is an essential collaborative skill that we all need to develop.
Working with Partners
Some students immediately found others and started to brainstorm and create. Today many of them returned to finish what they were creating. It was beautiful to watch the collaboration and engagement of the groups.
The sound of cardboard cutting and imagination has just begun. Some students spent 10-15 minutes just sitting in their cardboard box. I'm not sure where they traveled while in their box but it looked like fun. I can't wait to see what the next teams will do!
This website is a resource library that is evolving for Makers in the Education movement. Highlighting how to get started, making the case, other makerspaces, and projects are just a few of the amazing resources that the Maker Education Initiative has aggregated for educators.