3-D Printing is one of the best inventions of modern life. Why? Because it allows entrepreneurs to create rapid prototypes for their ideas in an affordable fashion. Essentially, it enables a would-be inventor to compete with a multi-billion-dollar company on a fairly level playing field.
This would have been unthinkable just a couple of decades ago. Now, it’s reality. That means one of the biggest advantages creative children can be given is a grounding in 3D-printing while they’re at school.
And while not every kid is going to go on to be James Dyson, many will take what they learned to carve out amazing careers in engineering jobs around the world.
So, with that in mind, we’ve got some ideas on how 3D printing can be incorporated into the classroom and in a way that helps every child, not just the entrepreneurs and engineers.
3D-printing is a way to print objects using plastics, rubber, etc. as opposed to printing documents with ink.
In general, the objects we produce through 3D-printing aren’t going to be as tough, or long-lasting as manufactured objects. However, that’s not really a problem when you’re looking to create things for quick classroom use, is it?
1. Engineering and Design Students: We’ve already said it. These students can create working prototypes with 3-D printing. Taking an idea from your head to execution is an incredibly valuable skill and one which is unlikely ever to fall out of date.
2. Biology Students: For those with an interest in bodies, you could develop 3-D models of individual organs and allow them to explore how they function in 3-D without any need for cutting up animal specimens.
3. History Students: Pick a period in time and recreate the artefacts of the era. How could they be improved? How would they be used at the time? How have they evolved over time?
4. Art Students: Many art students will already print photos and digital art but why not extend this facility to the 3D-space?
5. Students of Mechanics: This isn’t an application for “academic” students, imagine how useful 3D-printing could be when trying to repair a vehicle before a manufactured part can be delivered to the workshop?
6. Chemistry Students: You could build real world models of different molecules or chemical interactions to examine the motion of individual elements in a reaction.
7. Geography Students: It would be easy to build topographical maps that reflect the real world geography around an area. This could be very useful when analyzing the impact of weather on an area, for example.
8. Home Economics Students: One of the most fun uses of 3D-printing might be to create intricate and unique molds for cakes and jellies. Imagine being able to bake a model of the Eiffel Tower in any kitchen? We’d also like to see ice pops in new forms too.
9. Architecture Students: Build real models of buildings, stress test them, or, indeed, any part of a building. This sounds like so much fun that it could tempt us to go back to college to study architecture.
10. Physics students: Want to see how water flows through pipes of different widths? Build the pipes with a 3-D printer. Want to see how different tensile strengths of materials affects their properties, build test pieces with your 3D-printer. And so on…
We’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to the potential of 3-D printing. For most people, 3-D printing is not feasible at home, but it is something which becomes economic in schools and colleges.
You could help the entrepreneurs of tomorrow get the head start they need on the competition. You could also help a generation of kids with more interesting, interactive lessons in nearly every subject area. With 3-D printing you just can’t go wrong.