Wednesday, March 26, 2014

3-D Printing in the Library, STEM Media Center

We see them everywhere, especially in Media and STEM conferences: 3-D Printers are the new "must have" accessory for your Maker Space, Media Center, or STEM School. To be clearly honest, part of my thought process regarding this was "Ain't nobody go time for that!" combined with "Trendy!!"

That is, until my 7th grade daughter had one in her Industrial Tech Class - when she brought home a shelf she designed and created, the possibilities opened for me. This is technology that actually empowers people and erases limits!

Our District awards Great Grants each year, (thank you, and we can apply to receive up to 2,000.00 for a project.

The skinny of my Grant Proposal is this:

3rd Graders have a fun fun fun Fractured Fairy Tales Unit each year  - students love this unit and in the past few years there has been a swarm of new Fractured Fairytales hitting the shelves!

As an extension to this unit we will create original Fractured Fairytales using the creative writing process.

Each student will design a character of choice from their FF using GoogleSketch (free, kid friendly drafting software).

We will then 3-D Print our characters using a Solidoodle 4th Generation 3-D Printer.

The longest part of this process was choosing the best Printer for our Library. I went with Solidoodle because

a. turn key operation (some printers are assemble on site - not ready for that!)
b. size (the printer looks like a new coffee maker)
c. accessible / compatible software (will use Google SketchUp)
d. availability of accessories
e. price - fully assembled, a 4th Gen printer is right under 1,000.00

Thinking about adding this capability to our Library is ultra exciting! The Grant Awards usually arrive in the Spring and I look forward to the announcement. I know other teachers in our district prepared grants for 3-D Printers so this is obviously something our students will get to experience.