3D scanning technology has developed significantly in recent years and is now more affordable and better quality than ever making it a perfect compliment to 3D printing to enhance delivery of the curriculum.

The technology is being used widely for a number of applications and many 3D scans that are perfect for education use are being shared freely by organisations around the world allowing you to bring the world into the classroom through 3D printing models of real items and artefacts.

The technology also allows students to create their own 3D scans providing opportunities to create 3D prints of models straight from their imagination that would be difficult for younger students to design using 3D modelling software alone.

In this blog we look at 5 ideas for how 3D scanning technology can be used to enhance delivery of the Primary Curriculum.

1. Create historical artefact models to enhance the Primary History curriculum

Museums around the world are increasingly scanning their collections and making the 3D scans publicly available for download. This allows you to bring the world into the classroom through 3D printing models of real historical items and artefacts. The following organisations offer a large number of 3D scan models and so are a good place to get started:

MyMiniFactory Scan The World – The Open Source Museum
For 3D scans of buildings, landmarks and historical artefacts from around the world.

The British Museum
3D scans from different rooms and collections in the museum, the most notable being the Ancient Egypt collection.

Smithsonian 3D
Scans from many of the Smithsonian museums and collections.

Students could study different artefact then create their own historical artefact models using clay, playdough or plasticine. These can be 3D scanned and 3D printed and used for classroom displays.

A 3d scan of a beetle model, education, education technology, education tech, edtech
British Museum Scarab Seal Scan

2. Design and make 3D printed products in Primary Design and Technology and Art

3D scanning really comes into it’s own in Design and Technology and Art. In Design and Technology students can design and make items to a brief or in Art they can make sculptures using clay, playdough or plasticine. Then their creations can be 3D scanned and 3D printed.

Examples of 3D scanning projects for design and technology include designing and making pieces for a games board, designing and making tealight holders and designing ergonomic door handles.

3. Create 3D character models for descriptive writing in English and stop motion animation

With the use of clay, playdough or plasticine students can design their own 3D characters for stories. These can be scanned and 3D printed to make miniature character models. Students can then use these as a stimulus for creating detailed character descriptions for their stories.

Students could also write storyboards and then use the 3d printed character models to create their own stop motion animations.

A clay model of a ginerbread man which has been 3d scanned and 3d printed
Gingerbread Man Character

4. Scan and reproduce objects for use as teaching and learning aids across the Primary curriculum

Any object that holds it’s form can be 3D scanned and then 3D printed. This allows you to make copies of everyday items to use as teaching and learning aids.

For example to make maths more hands-on, 3D scans can be taken of different shaped objects which are then 3D printed at different scales. Students can then practise measuring the various side lengths and angles of the shapes. They can use their measurements to calculate other properties of the shapes such as angles, areas and volumes and scales between two different sized objects.

5. 3D print dental and skeletal scans to use  in Science lessons

If you do not have access to a 3D scanner, you can still benefit from 3D scans that are available freely online. Many 3D dental and medical scans are shared online such as dental and skeletal scans. These can be downloaded, 3D printed and used as teaching and learning aids when learning about teeth and eating and the human body. Here are some good examples to get you started.

Dental Model

How to get started with 3D scanning

If you want to try out a 3D scanning project, our partners at PrintLab have several fully resourced 3D scanning projects (some of which use 3D scan data and don’t require access to a scanner) all available within their PrintLab Classroom Subscription these include:

  • Surrealist Structures
  • Digitising Nature
  • Reverse Engineering
  • Organic Homeware
  • Ergonomic Pens
  • Making Classroom Objects

If you want to try out a 3D scanner, the CREATE Education Loan Scheme now includes the ability to loan a 3D scanner for half a term. This gives you an opportunity to try out a scanner to run a practical project with students, see how straightforward the scanners (and scanning software) are to use and how accurate and detailed the 3D scans are. 

We also have a wide range of 3D scanners available from entry level desktop 3D scanners to HD Handheld scanners, take a look at our range of 3D scanners or contact us to learn more about the capabilities of the different scanners.

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