Chapter 10 Using 3D Printing to Enhance STEM Teaching and Learning

Recommendations for Designing 3D Printing Projects

In: Integrating 3D Printing into Teaching and Learning
Authors: Sonya Wisdom and Elena Novak

Abstract

3D printing technology is a powerful learning tool that can involve students in active learning, design thinking, and problem-solving. It creates opportunities for integrating science, engineering, technology, and mathematics with other disciplines. In this chapter, we describe the benefits of 3D printing technology for teaching science and discuss a theoretical framework for designing 3D printing problem- and project-based learning in science followed by practical recommendations for creating 3D printing instructional units that can be integrated into a formal curriculum. In conclusion, we provide an example of a 3D printing project that was implemented with preservice elementary teachers in a science methods course.

1 Introduction

Proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has been a global focus of science education reform for many years now, especially in those countries concerned about the increasing demands for a workforce proficient in the STEM fields (Lynch et al., 2014; National Research Council, 2012; NGSS Lead States, 2013). The concern for a STEM-proficient workforce has thus caused schools to shift the focus from science and mathematics only to the integration of science, mathematics, engineering, and technology in their formal curriculum. Perhaps more importantly, however, is the conviction of many educators that science and engineering can lead students through a process that leads to understanding real-life issues and help them to participate in local, national, and global issues, which are the hallmarks of scientifically literate citizens (Krajcik & Czeniak, 2014).

The Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA) defines scientific literacy as:

the ability to engage with science-related issues, and with the ideas of science, as a reflective citizen. A scientifically literate person is willing to engage in reasoned discourse about science and technology, which requires the competencies to explain phenomena scientifically, evaluate and design scientific enquiry, and interpret data and evidence scientifically. (OECD, 2016, p. 28)

PISA is an ongoing, triennial international assessment administered by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The assessment seeks to answer one main question, “What is important for citizens to know and do?” in order to fully participate in modern societies (OECD, 2016, p. 25). PISA evaluates the competencies of 15-year olds around the world in one of the core domains of science, mathematics and reading and one “innovative” domain. In 2015, the major domain measured was science, with reading and mathematics serving as minor areas of assessment and collaborative problem solving as the innovative domain (OECD, 2016, p. 25). Some 540,000 15-year olds from 72 countries participated in PISA 2015. Among the results of PISA 2015, it was reported that Australia, Canada, Ireland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom are high performers in science. The 15-year-old students in these countries hold strong beliefs about the value of scientific enquiry, and largerthanaverage proportions of students expect to work in a science-related occupation later on (OECD, 2016, p. 34).

In the U.S., new science standards were developed in 2013 at the national level to guide states with incorporating science, mathematics, engineering, and technology into K-12 science education. These new standards, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), have a strong focus on engineering design and technology. The NGSS focus on core science concepts (The Disciplinary Core Ideas), the major concepts that are important to all science disciplines (The Crosscutting Concepts), and the practices and skills that scientists use to explore and understand the natural and man-made or designed world (The Science and Engineering Practices). Thus, the NGSS are said to be three dimensional in nature (NGSS Lead States, 2013).

The NGSS has raised engineering design to the same level as scientific inquiry in science teaching at all levels (Kaya et al., 2017). Many researchers agree that when students are actively engaged in both science and engineering practices, that is, when they are doing science, their understanding of scientific concepts increases, their critical thinking skills, and creativity develop, and learning becomes meaningful and relevant (Cunningham & Higgins, 2014; NGSS Lead States, 2013; Marshall, 2014; Roseman & Koppal, 2014). Further, students’ desire to learn more science also increases when they are actively engaged in science and engineering practices (Christidou, 2011). This increases the possibility that they will want to ultimately pursue a career in STEM.

Technology or the “T” in STEM is often the bridge that connects science with engineering practices. However, teachers often have very little experience from their own previous learning in science with the technology and engineering standards in STEM. Banilower et al. (2013) report that only seven percent of middle school science teachers and only 14 percent of high school science teachers in the U.S. have taken at least one college course in engineering. It is challenging if not impossible for teachers to teach technology and engineering concepts they have no experience with. As such, teacher education programs need to prepare pre-service teachers to utilize technology and engineering design processes in their science teaching. A clear understanding of the intersection of mathematics, engineering, and technology in science teaching and learning has become important for developing STEM proficient professionals that are ready to meet the problem-solving demands of a global society. In particular, science methods courses can offer opportunities for preservice teachers to experience new instructional strategies related to the STEM standards as students themselves before they are responsible for teaching them (Kazempour & Sadler, 2015; Mansfield & Woods-McConney, 2012).

It is also important that professional development opportunities be afforded to in-service teachers to prepare them for the challenges of integrating engineering design and new technologies into their science teaching. It is very difficult for teachers, who have not experienced a project utilizing the engineering design process, to facilitate engineering design processes in their teaching, recognize the different practices of students during the design process, anticipate the misconceptions of students about the design process, and effectively assess the progress of students through the design process (Crismond, 2013).

In this chapter, we argue that integrating 3D printing, an emerging educational technology, into a science classroom can create unique learning opportunities that are at the intersection of engineering, technology, and mathematics. First, we will provide an overview of 3D printing technology. Then we will discuss a theoretical framework for designing 3D printing problem- and project-based learning in science followed by practical recommendations for creating 3D printing instructional units that can be integrated into a formal curriculum. We will conclude the chapter with a description of a 3D printing project that was implemented in a science methods course with preservice elementary teachers.

2 3D Printing Technology

3D printing technology uses an additive manufacturing process to create a solid object by forming layers of material. Creating a 3D printed object requires a 3D model of the object, which can be produced using computer-aided design (CAD) software and sending the CAD file to a 3D printer. 3D models can be also created using a 3D scanner or downloaded from online websites dedicated to 3D printing and 3D modeling.

3D printing technology is part of the maker movement, also known as a do-it-yourself movement. 3D printing is closely associated with maker-centered learning that engages students in creative design processes in STEM (Agency by Design, 2015; Hsu, Baldwin, & Ching, 2017; Martin, 2015). Like science education, the maker movement emphasizes active learning and problem solving (Martinez & Stager, 2013). Many educators believe that 3D printing can be used in the classroom as a “real-world way to teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, to develop creativity, and to encourage teamwork” (Murray, 2013, p. 12). Moreover, since the value of making is directly connected with the Framework for K-12 Science Education (National Research Council, 2011), 3D printing can be integrated into a formal science curriculum and aligned with science and engineering standards (Quinn & Bell, 2013).

Engaging students in 3D printing projects promotes STEM-rich learning that encourages creativity, design thinking, and innovation. It creates opportunities for inquiry learning where students solve real-world problems that cut across multiple disciplines. Students work on the open-ended design of personally meaningful objects that they research, design, prototype, 3D print, and evaluate. These activities introduce students to the creative design process that promotes design thinking (Novak & Wisdom, 2018). According to the Stanford University’s Institute of Design (“d.school”), design thinking is defined as acting with creative ability. It is closely associated with advancing cultures of innovation and fostering creativity in our society (Becker et al., 2018; Royalty, Chen, Roth, & Sheppard, 2019). Design thinking has been historically cultivated in engineering and design professions (Simon, 1996). It focuses on the “methods and processes for investigating challenges, acquiring information, analyzing knowledge, and positioning solutions in the design and planning fields” (Plattner, 2012, p. v). 3D printing problem- and project-based learning can introduce students to engineering practices through design experiences.

3 Designing 3D Printing Learning in a Science Classroom: A Theoretical Framework

The principles of integrating 3D printing technology into a science classroom build upon engineering approaches to problem-solving that aim to promote the value in science, engineering, and technology to “reflect authentic scientific investigations and engineering design in the classroom” (Purzer, 2017). The instructional models developed as part of this movement emphasize design-based learning that promotes science learning through design. We adapted the Learning by Design framework (Hmelo, Holton, & Kolodner, 2000; Kolodner et al., 2003) to provide guidelines for designing a unit of instruction that includes a 3D printing project. Learning by Design is a project-based inquiry approach to science education that draws its theoretical foundations from case-based reasoning and problem-based learning. Originally developed for non-digital design challenges, it promotes science learning through design challenges. Connecting design activities to science content present many challenges to science teachers for several reasons. First, without an explicit connection to the science content, construction/design projects can quickly become arts and crafts activities (Hmelo et al., 2000; Kolodner et al., 2003). Second, many science teachers struggle with the science content that they are teaching. This lack of science content knowledge is further compromised by teachers’ insufficient ability to connect science with the world outside of the classroom. In addition, design activities are very challenging for students because students usually have limited design experiences and do not know where to start. Finally, due to time and curriculum constraints, design projects tend to spend most of the time on design/constructing activities and fail to connect them to the science (Kolodner et al., 2003).

The Learning by Design framework emphasizes the following sequencing of activities for successful design-based learning:

  1. Effective presentation of the design challenge, including supporting materials and resources that promote learning.

  2. Support students’ exploration of the design challenge through a quick construction/design activity to help students recognize major issues that need to be addressed and provide supporting materials and resources.

  3. Include reflective and planning activities to help students keep track of their design ideas, issues, and plans.

  4. Plan and include investigation activities to help students examine more in-depth some major subsets of the issues that were previously identified, share their findings through some reflective activity.

  5. Reflect on the design challenge based on the results of the investigation activities and have students present their revisited designs to the class.

  6. Include multiple iterations of construction/design and testing toward a solution along with discussions and presentations.

  7. Final presentation, demonstration, and reflection.

These design activities transform a classroom learning community where students become “reflective decision-makers” and teachers serve as “design coaches” (Purzer, 2017). When including technology in a design challenge, teachers need to consider an additional set of activities to support the use of technology and promote integrative learning of science, technology, and engineering. In addition, it is important to familiarize students with the process of design. Research shows that students’ lack of understanding of the design process inhibits the quality of their design and motivation to create high-quality design projects (Purzer, 2017; Smith, Iversen, & Hjorth, 2015). Learning by Design connects design activities to science content by (1) including a “redesign” phase where students redesign their devices based on initial testing, (2) sequencing of the learning activities, and (3) promoting reflective thinking. However, following a prescribed design process is not sufficient; researchers recommend engaging students in informed design practices (Crismond & Adams, 2012; Crismond, Gellert, Cain, & Wright, 2013). This recommendation is based on the notion that “knowledge of principles and processes (as portrayed through models and frameworks) can help designers skillfully structure their work” (McKenney, Kali, Markauskaite, & Voogt, 2015, pp. 191–192). As such, in addition to the Learning by Design recommendations, we suggest familiarizing students with the process of design by introducing the major processes and activities carried out in design projects to help students become conversant in authentic design practices and avoid common design mishabits that center on the belief that design problems are well-defined problems with only one correct solution and that failure bears a negative connotation (Purzer, 2017).

4 Recommendations for Designing and Planning a 3D Printing Project

The following recommendations are made to assist teachers with designing, planning and implementing a 3D printing project:

  1. Select standards: Before creating a 3D printing project, select relevant standard(s) to be used. Since 3D printing requires skills that cut across the disciplines, consider standards from more than one discipline.

  2. Identify a design challenge: an object to be 3D printed, its intended use, target audience, and real-world environment in which the object will be used. Once relevant standards have been identified, it is time to consider (1) an object(s) that students will design and 3D print and (2) how the 3D printed object is going to be used. Selecting an appropriate object for intended learners is crucial to the success of a 3D printing project. When identifying possible objects, it is important to consider first and foremost learner’s characteristics, such as age, interests, prior 3D modeling experience and skills, and familiarity with the object, its functionality, real-world uses and an environment in which the object will be used. For instance, selecting an object with a complex design and structure that requires advanced 3D modeling skills is not a good idea for inexperienced or young learners. Another important consideration is how a 3D printed object is going to be used. It is beneficial selecting an experimental scenario, environment, or setting that can provide feedback on the object’s functionality. Some examples include boats for a science experiment to test how much weight a boat can carry, gliders or rockets that can be tested for their flight ability, braille pages for visually impaired readers. It can be regular household items as well, such as holders for various devices and items, broken parts, flashlights, etc. What is important is that students have some understanding of the object’s functionality and design and are made aware of how their 3D printed object is going to be used.

  3. Identify resources for scaffolding student understanding of the target 3D printed object, including its design, functionality, and subject-specific vocabulary. It is important for students to have a good understanding of the object before they engage in the design process. For example, in order to design a boat for a science experiment, students need to know common types of boats, their major design elements and specific vocabulary to communicate their boat designs. Therefore, an important step in designing and planning a 3D Printing project would be identifying resources to scaffold student learning about the target object(s). To encourage self-inquiry and promote a more energetic and enthusiastic approach to learning, students can research ideas for themselves. It is recommended to spend approximately 20% “lecturing” and 80% active learning (d.school1).

  4. Identify relevant subject-specific content knowledge. Once a design challenge is selected, identify whether students will need to have the specific content knowledge to successfully complete their 3D printing project. Scaffold student science, engineering, and technology, and other content knowledge by providing reading materials, relevant websites, etc. For instance, conducting a scientific experiment that tests how much cargo a boat can hold implies that students have to understand the scientific concepts of relative density, forces, buoyancy, and water pressure. Investigating a model plane design that will enable the plane to fly the farthest requires understanding of Newton’s Third Law of Motion and forces, in particular thrust, lift, and drag. Creating braille pages requires students to know braille literacy. Creating artificial limbs requires students to know the anatomy of the human body and the functions of the limb being replaced.

  5. Scaffold student understanding of the design process. Research repeatedly shows that novice designers exhibit a set of common design mishabits that negatively affect their design experiences and engagement in the design process (Purzer, 2017). Most of the design mishabits are rooted in the belief that design projects (1) focus on well-defined problems with one correct solution and (2) do not involve reflective, iterative design processes (Crismond, 2013; Jonassen, Strobel, & Lee, 2006). In addition, novice designers often struggle with information gathering and problem identification (Alemdar, Lingle, Wind, & Moore, 2017; Purzer, 2017). The literature suggests that educators should help students develop informed design practices and offers several design process models that can be adopted toward this goal (see Figure 10.1), such as Think-Make-Improve (Martinez & Stager, 2013), Engineering is Elementary (Moffett, Weis, & Banilower, 2011), PictureSTEM (Moore & Tank, 2014), and Engineer Your World (Berland, Steingut, & Ko, 2014). The models emphasize the iterative process of design and reflection, but discretion should be used regarding the design practices presented in the models.

  6. Identify simple building materials for physical prototypes. Before students start turning their ideas into 3D printing reality, they should be encouraged to sketch the ideas on paper and create simple physical prototypes of their artifacts. Physical prototyping is a central component of the design process. It will help students test and refine the functionality of their design and test its performance. Consider providing students with simple building materials, such as foam core board, playdough, balsa wood, pipe cleaners, old shoe boxes and paper bags, construction paper, cardstock, and hot glue. Teachers can set up stations with prototyping materials in the classroom and challenge the students to create their prototypes.

  7. Identify appropriate CAD software and training resources. There is a wide variety of CAD software for users with different 3D modeling skills and needs. Select relevant CAD software and training materials based on your students’ 3D modeling skills and project needs. If students are new to 3D modeling and 3D printing it is beneficial to select a software that is easy to use. Preparing students to use the CAD software will help them feel comfortable with 3D modeling and allow for high-quality design projects. Providing an opportunity for students to see a 3D printer in action will enable them to have an appreciation of the time involved to complete the printing of their object.

  8. Establish routines and structures for scaffolding student learning and reflective activities. Reflective thinking is one of the key elements underlying the process of design (Hong & Choi, 2018; Purzer, 2017). It allows students to monitor their decision making, keep track of unfamiliar and new design tasks, use their prior experiences to develop partial solutions from previous cases, and move back and forth between different design stages (Schön, 1987). As such, it is important to establish routines and structures that help students reflect on their design process, progress and challenge. This could be done through student presentations, classroom discussion, peer reviews, science journaling, and reflective writing. These activities will support student communication and scientific literacy skills (OECD, 2016). In addition, progress reports, presentations, and reflections, can be used as formative assessments and will help monitor and guide student progress.

  9. Create a 3D printing project schedule/Allow for multiple iterations of design and testing toward a solution. Now that you have decided which 3D printing project you are going to implement with your students and what essential resources and materials you need to have in order to support your students’ learning, it is time to work on the 3D printing project schedule. It is hard to overemphasize the importance of good project planning for project success. Carefully consider how much time your students will need for mastering the identified content skills and knowledge, learning about the process of design, researching ideas for their project artifacts, creating and testing their physical prototypes, learning how to use the CAD software, 3D modeling and 3D printing their artifacts, testing them, and revising their design as necessary.

  10. Conclude the 3D printing project with a final presentation, demonstration, or experiment and include reflection. Communication is a crucial skill of scientifically literate citizens. Bybee (2018) states that science and engineering cannot advance or produce new or improved technologies if findings and advantages of new designs cannot be clearly and persuasively communicated to others. Students who are excited about an object they have designed and printed using a 3D printer will readily share with their peers what they have learned about the design process and how they solved problems. Therefore, students should be given the opportunity to describe their pathway toward a solution to a problem, the results they obtained, and present evidence that supports the decisions they made in the iterative design process.

Figure 10.1
Figure 10.1

Engineering design process models in K-12 curricula: (a) The Improve-Think-Make Cycle (adapted from Martinez & Stager, 2013); (b) Engineering is Elementary (adapted from Moffett et al., 2011); (c) PictureSTEM (adapted from Moore & Tank, 2014); (d) Engineer Your World (adapted from Berland et al., 2014)

5 Example of a 3D Printing Project in a Science Methods Course

We designed a 3D printing project to help preservice elementary teachers learn about 3D printing technology and its integration in the K-4 science classroom as part of their undergraduate science methods course. The 3D printing project modeled a common science experiment in the elementary classroom on why things float or sink using 3D printed boats. It required students to work collaboratively in learning communities comprised of three students to design a new, unique boat using the Tinkercad software. The boats were designed for a science experiment to explore how much weight could be supported by boat hulls of various volumes and designs and how this related to the density of water.

The students participated in a typical science lesson on why things sink or float. Although this is a phenomenon that is commonly observed in everyday life, it involves complex scientific concepts. These scientific concepts are often not sufficiently addressed in science curricula thus leading to many misconceptions about the topic that can persist into adulthood (Yin, Tomita, & Shavelson, 2008). Thus, we believed this science topic was an important one to explore with elementary preservice teachers in a science methods course.

Students first made small boats out of aluminum foil in their learning communities in a science lab. The boats were tested for their ability to float in water. Next, the aluminum foil boats were tested for their ability to float in water and hold cargo (pennies). Students determined the amount of weight their boats could hold before sinking using pennies and calculated the density of their boats. Students also experimented with changing the volume of the boat’s “hull” and investigated how this would change the amount of water displaced by the boat, the relationship to buoyant force (weight of the water displaced) and how much weight a boat could hold without sinking with the redesigned boat hull. The science experiment was followed by a semi-structured classroom discussion about the density of an object compared to the density of water and Archimedes’ Principle and buoyancy.

After experimenting with the aluminum boat prototypes, students were introduced to 3D printing technology. They attended a two-hour 3D printing workshop. Students were first introduced to the history of 3D printing technology and its potential for teaching science topics involving technology and engineering design. They then toured a 3D printing studio where they could observe how 3D printing technology worked and the kinds of 3D products could be created. In addition, students received a training session on how to design 3D models using Tinkercad, a CAD web-based application developed especially for children and inexperienced designers, and each student had an opportunity to design his/her own 3D model using this software in the lab. After participating in the 3D printing workshop, students were instructed to complete a 3D printing project of a small boat outside of the classroom over a period of three weeks. The actual boat size was limited to 94mm*94mm*94mm, which is the maximum printable size supported by the Student Multimedia Studio 3D printing center. Students collaborated on their boat design, based on their experiences with designing boats out of aluminum foil, predicted how much weight (pennies) their boat could hold and still float, and documented their journey through the design process as a learning community. The collaborative 3D model was then printed with the 3D printer and each learning community reflected on the entire 3D printing project experience collaboratively. Students also compared their understanding of density and buoyant force from the two boat design projects.

In a regular class session, the relevant NGSS science standards for the project and the performance expectations at the elementary level were identified (see Table 10.1) and discussed as a whole class. Finally, each of the three dimensions of the NGSS was aligned with the 3D printing project. The K-4 Technological and Engineering Design science standards of the Ohio Department of Education were also discussed and emphasize the following skills and competencies:

  1. Identify problems and potential technological/engineering solutions, and
  2. Understand the design process, the role of troubleshooting.
Table 10.1

Connection of 3D printing project at the elementary school level to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States 2013; revised from NSTA, Science Scope, 2017)

NGSS Standards
  1. K-2-ETS – 1 Engineering Design
  2. 3-5-ETS – 1 Engineering Design
NGSS Performance Expectation
  1. 2-PS1-2. Analyze data obtained from testing different materials which have the properties that are best suited for an intended purpose.
Three Dimensions of NGSSConnections to 3D Printing Project
Science and Engineering Practice(s)
  1. Developing and Using Models
  2. Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  3. Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  1. Students collaboratively designed and created small boats out of aluminum foil and calculated their density and the amount of weight they could hold before sinking.
  2. Students then collaboratively designed and printed a small boat using a 3D printer and calculated their density and the amount of weight they could hold before sinking.
Disciplinary Core Ideas in Engineering Design
ETS1.C – Optimizing the Design Solution
  1. Because there is always more than one possible solution to a problem, it is useful to compare and test designs.
  2. Different solutions need to be tested in order to determine which of them best solves the problem, given the criteria and the constraints.
  1. The design processes for making the two boats were compared.
Crosscutting Concept

Structure and Function
  1. Students reflected on the shape and functionality of the two objects made from the two different materials.

Note: The standards, performance expectation, and the three dimensions of the NGSS in this table give only one example of the connections between the NGSS and the 3D printing project described in this chapter. Other valid connections are possible.

Both the NGSS science standards and the state technological and engineering design standards illustrated to preservice teachers that both scientists and engineers use simple models of more complex systems. 3D printing, in this case, was the technology used to bridge the utilization of both national and state standards into a science learning experience to understand this concept.

The 3D printed boats were then tested in a science lab for their ability to float in water and hold cargo (pennies) using guided inquiry procedures. Students calculated the density of their boats and the amount of weight they could hold before sinking was determined using pennies. This science experiment was followed by a semi-structured classroom discussion that took place after they tested their boats. Finally, the preservice teachers reflected on how they could integrate a similar 3D printing project into their future teaching.

5.1 Evidence of Effectiveness

3D printing project activities were positively received by preservice elementary teachers. The students rated the usefulness of 3D printing technology for learning and teaching of science concepts considerably high (M = 3.80 on a 5-point Likert scale), indicating positive attitudes and interest toward integrating 3D printing technology in the science curriculum. Their perceived ease of use of 3D printing technology and the Tinkercad CAD software, in particular, was above average (M = 3.18 on a 5-point Likert scale). In addition, after participating in the 3D printing project students reported significantly higher levels of perceived competence in K-4 technological and engineering design science standards, design thinking, and science interest (Novak & Wisdom, 2018).

5.2 Learners’ Descriptions of Their Engagement

Based on the experiences indicated by the preservice teachers on the questionnaires, their written reflections, comments shared during class discussions, quantitative findings, and the actual 3D printed boats they designed, the 3D printing project was a meaningful way to incorporate 3D printing experiences into an elementary science methods course for preservice teachers. Below are quotes from students’ project reflections describing the collaborative nature of the project, students’ engagement and interest in science, challenges with designing their boat, and attitudes towards using 3D printing in their future classrooms:

  1. Our learning community collaborated very well throughout the process from start to finish. The day we initially learn[ed] how to use the [Tinkercad] software, we figured out the best parts of each of our personal designs.
  2. When we met as a group to design the group boat, we took use of the previous designs to create a single model.
  3. Science is a subject where learning is done best through experiencing it and this project really highlighted that. We were able to explore, [make a] hypothesis, experiment, research, … and learn by doing.
  4. I have never done anything like this before and I am so glad that I have had this opportunity. I had a tough time with the [Tinkercad] program. I did not understand how to make my boat come together while using the program. At times when I thought that it would be attached, it turned out not to be attached.
  5. As a group, we determined color, shape, and design of our boat, but did not consider the dimensions that it would be. We believed that bigger was better, but we failed to correctly identify the depth of the inside of the boat … it was a major realization of how much deeper we could have gone with [made] the inside than we originally thought we could.
  6. We really enjoyed this experience and thought it was neat that we got to incorporate this new technology into one of our courses.
  7. Exploring Tinkercad was an experience within itself. Learning all of the different tools that we could use was fun and challenging at times. Figuring out how to get the perfect shape with perfect dimensions and then adding in everything extra to make it unique was interesting. We enjoyed being able to experience and get to know this program.
  8. The experience of designing our 3D boat was really neat. It was something that none of us had done before! We’d heard about it through news reports and on TV shows but it was one of those things that we felt was going to be something we’d never get to experience for ourselves.
  9. This was a very fun project and very engaging. This project or one similar would be a great one to teach in my future classroom because it was so fun and engaging. It would provide students with the opportunity to explore, ask questions, be curious, and learn.

6 Conclusion

Among the many results of PISA 2015, it was reported that the way science is taught is directly related to students’ performance in science, their expectations of working in a science field, and their beliefs about the value of scientific inquiry, as opposed to the qualifications of the teachers (OECD, 2016, p. 36). This finding supported our suggestion for using 3D printing as an innovative and effective way to teach engineering design and problem-solving in K-12 science in a collaborative, project-based way in a science classroom.

Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge the contributions to several people to this chapter: Dr. Chia-Ling Kuo and Dr. Annette Kratcoski, Kent State University; three teachers, Amy Hopkins and Jennifer Weitzel, from Holden Elementary School and Dave Ternent, from Kimpton Middle School; and Todd Poole, Principal of Holden Elementary School in Kent Ohio, U.S. Their classroom experiences with 3D printing assisted with framing our recommendations to educators who are interested in incorporating this technology into their science curriculum to provide engineering design opportunities for their students.

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  • Chapter 1 3D Printing
  • Chapter 2 3D Printing in Early Childhood Classrooms
  • Chapter 3 Three-Dimensional Picto-Reconstructive Tinkering Tool for Creative Teaching
  • Chapter 4 Developing 21st-Century Skills through STEM Integration and Global Collaboration Using 3D Printing and CAD
  • Chapter 5 Overcoming Barriers to the Implementation of 3D Printing in Schools
  • Chapter 6 3D Printing Applications in Mechanical Engineering Education
  • Chapter 7 Dragon STEAM
  • Chapter 8 Bridging the Social and Environmental Dimensions of Global Sustainability in STEM Education with Additive Manufacturing
  • Chapter 9 Assessing Students’ Anatomical Knowledge on Bones, Commercial Models, and 3D Prints
  • Chapter 10 Using 3D Printing to Enhance STEM Teaching and Learning
  • Chapter 11 Moving 3D Printing beyond the Desktop within Higher Education
  • Chapter 12 A Case Study of Preparing Emirati Pre-Service Teachers to Integrate 3D Printing into Teaching and Learning

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