Fort Riley Elementary is a proud owner of a 3D Printer, which is used to expand students’ graphic, engineering, and creative skills. Tiffany Stephens, Fort Riley Elementary’s Library Media Specialist, wrote an article for connectED, telling us about how the 3D Printer is integrated into the students’ curriculum:
A 3D printer works similar to a paper printer. Instead of printing the requested data onto a flat paper with ink, a 3D printer uses a cartridge that has plastic in it. When the requested data file is sent to the printer it heats up the plastic and prints a 3 dimensional object. 3D printers are used every day for many different purposes. 3D printers are used in space, in the health field and they are now even able to print walls to buildings using a 3D printer.
At Fort Riley Elementary we have used the 3D printer to investigate the engineering process. Students were given a problem through a program called City X to find a solution that could be printed on the 3D printer. City X is a fictional city on a fictional planet that has humans living there and are starting to run into problems. Each student is striving to engineer a solution to their individual problem for their citizen of City X.
Students then presented their idea to the rest of their class. We have also used the 3D printer to engineer a culminating item for a third grade literacy unit on immigration. Students researched what it would have been like to immigrate from their assigned country and found an example of an artifact that would have been brought over. Students then had to use this information to create their own artifact that they would have brought over following the limitations and guidelines that were given to them.
Fourth grade will end the year with using the 3D printer during their around the world literacy unit. Students will study Greek gods and will be given guidelines for creating a culminating object to show their learning during this unit. My goal for next year is to use the 3D printer with K-2 by integrating into their math or reading unit as well.