My middle school students live in a small, active, and supportive community, however, their families are far from being affluent with over 50% qualifying for free and reduced lunch. Some are coming to school ready to fully engage, others have many overwhelming real-life obstacles to overcome before they can be ready to focus on learning. They do, however, all love learning new things especially if they have the opportunity for choice and to infuse creativity. My students enjoy independent work as well as team collaborations.
I STEM-ify my Tech integration curriculum and adding the design process to help my students be engaged learners today, innovators, and future leaders tomorrow.
In January, we were completing our new OneWord2019 character counts unit when we received word that our first 3D printer was funded. We decided to learn how to use Tinkercad to design bookbag tags, about the size of a business card. These were to serve as reminders, what each student's chosen OneWord2019 character trait focus word was for the year. Students were 100% engaged! Despite having size limits, each tag was taking between 30-50 minutes to print, most successfully printed, a few needed to be edited/anchored for the extruder to slice as planned! I decided to post a project for a 2nd FlashForge Finder and was thrilled to see it fund rather quickly. I was able to print all the remaining and updated bookbag tags more efficiently. During the last trimester of the school year, with the 6th graders, I was feeling confident with two 3D printers, so I launched a sizable "Moon Camp Challenge". Each team researched what was needed to work and thrive on the moon and conscientiously developed their Moon Camp proposal. Once the team blueprint was developed, they used Tinkercad to 3D print each individual's camp component with the FlashForge Finder. The details included were well thought out and each component had a distinct purpose for protection, survival, or quality of life. However, again, project print time was a definite challenge. Waiting two weeks for their components is not good practice for student feedback in the design process cycle.
Having a 3rd 3D printer will cut the print lead time and empower us to apply the design process cycle efficiently, to edit and to reprint our projects as needed.
Hence, I am asking for FlashForge Finder #3 to arm my students with timely feedback to process an expected end product.
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