3D printers have revolutionized various industries, including education, in so many ways. Dentists can 3D print custom dentures, surgeons can print prosthetic limbs, and automotive manufacturers can print custom parts for airplanes, cars, and so much more.
Thanks to their availability and accessibility, 3D printers are increasingly used by more teachers to complement lessons in subjects like science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). 3D printing in the classroom helps to develop creativity and problem-solving skills in students while incorporating critical digital skills.
When it comes to enhancing STEM education with 3D printers, finding prints and projects that engage students is a challenge. To help, we scoured Thingiverse for the best 3D prints that will bring STEM learning to life.
Here are 10 of our favourite 3D print design ideas for STEM lessons.
1. Wind Turbine
Thingiverse 3D printed Wind Turbine by me2space.
A great way to teach students about climate change is with our popular Climate Action Kits, and when you incorporate a 3D printer, this wind energy lesson comes to life. A 3D printed wind turbine is a great design to complement the wind energy lesson from our Climate Action Kit project. Use the robotics parts from the Energy kit to make a working prototype.
2. Frog Dissection Kit
Thingiverse 3D printed Frog Dissection Kit by MakerBot.
A cruelty-free way to teach biology is to 3D print a dissection kit, like this frog kit. Students get the benefit of learning anatomy without the mess. Genius!
3. 3D Printed Bridge
Thingiverse 3D printed Bridge by pjotrx.
Explore civil engineering concepts with a bridge building project that has students designing, 3D printing, and testing different types of bridges. The linked project an example of the self-supporting bridge conceived by Leonardo da Vinci.
4. Boat Race Challenge
Building and racing 3 different types of 3D printed boats is an engaging way for students to learn engineering principles. These 3 boats are suited for various age groups and include a Paddle Boat, a Pop Pop Boat, and a Balloon Boat.
Which boat design do you think would win this race?
5. Modular Hydroponic Garden Tower
Thingiverse 3D printed Hydroponic Garden Tower by smysnk.
Thingiverse 3D printed Hypsometer by ChrisX35.
Introduce students to trigonometry principles with a 3D printed hypsometer. This nifty tool teaches students to approximate heights and slopes using basic trigonometry equations.
7. 3D Printed Sound Amplifier
Thingiverse 3D printed Sound Amplifier by carlosvaras.
A creative STEM education project that incorporates the properties of sound with 3D design is this 3D printed passive speaker/amplifier two part lesson. After learning the background on sound characteristics and measurement, students move onto the second lesson and design their own speakers.
8. Rubber Band Plane
Thingiverse 3D printed Rubber Band Plane by Flyger.
Much like the 3D printed boat race challenge, this 3D printed rubber band plane makes for an excellent STEM project that offers ample opportunity to make modifications. What’s great about this project is that students can modify their design to test how far their designs can fly.
9. Solar Array
Thingiverse 3D printed Solar Array by eltitomanolo.
10. Electric Vehicle
Thingiverse 3D printed Electric Vehicle by laurk.
Lastly, a 3D printed electric vehicle project that pairs well with the energy version of our Climate Action Kit. This STEM lesson is a great introduction to climate action and helps students to critically examine the impact and benefits of electric energy systems.
READY TO INTRODUCE 3D PRINTING TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM?
3D printers unlock a world of potential both for individual student development and classroom engagement for educators. 3D printers are a powerful tool for creating models to supplement lesson plans, and the process of the 3D printing itself provides an amazing experiential learning opportunity for students to build creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
At InkSmith, it’s our mission to bridge gaps in STEAM by empowering educators to introduce 21st-century technology in their classrooms. We offer the latest in educational technology products, from 3D printers, laser cutters and robotics kits, as well as educator training to make their introduction into the classroom seamless.
If you’re looking to incorporate 3D printing technology into your classroom, we’re here to help. Contact a member of our team to find out which 3D printer is right for you or to book your training session.