Teachers and pupils at St Mary’s Primary School recently benefited from the CREATE Education 3D printer loan scheme. During the month long loan, they utilised the technology across a number of classes. In this blog they have shared some of their experiences with the 3D printer.

In Year 1, the children were very excited by the 3D printer and couldn’t quite believe that it was creating / ‘building’ a model. They enjoyed using the ‘youmagine’ website to search for and choose a plant pot design that we could then put to use in our topic on growing plants (Growth and green fingers).

The children took it in turns to visit the printer and to watch the plant pot taking shape.  We then planted cress seeds in it and watched them grow. William in Year 6 found another interesting pot that he thought the children in Year 1 might enjoy using. It was a 2-tiered stepped model, also shown in the picture.

In Year 2, the class teacher Jessica first found designs of Easter cookie cutters to use in their class role play area for the confectionery role play. The pupils then voted on various designs to print off for mother’s day mementos and those were printed for their mums. Finally, they used the Purple Mash 2 Design and Make software to design and 3D print their own 3D vehicles.

The Year 3 children really enjoyed the topic of the Iron Man during the 3D printer being in school. They voted on what we would like the 3D printer to make and it was an Iron’s Man head! William in Year 6 informed us that it would take x12 hours to print/make so we only produced one. It was on display at the back of class with our other Iron Man work. The children went to look at the 3D printer in action (in groups) and Paul, the Year 3 teacher answered questions on the spot that ranged from ‘What is the orange stuff?’ to ‘Can you leave it working overnight?’.

Year 6, particularly the team of engineers behind it all really enjoyed helping other classes to create their models. It was really good to see a child who was Gifted and Talented in this area excel and thrive each day when using the printer – something he would normally not have been able to experience in school.

Feedback from the teachers

“The 3D printer’s attractive back-lit design, colourful plastic filament and busy whirring turned a lot of heads as children and staff alike wandered past it in the corridor. People stopped and stared as it printed out the designs that were sent to it including: Mother’s Day gifts, maths puzzles, models to aid learning in science amongst many other things. It impressed parents and other visitors to the school who have heard about 3D printers but never actually seen one. I think the loan of the printer offered our children a really valuable learning experience and a glimpse into their futures.”
Patrick Smyth (Head Teacher)

“The 3D printer has given the children an opportunity to witness creativity and produce meaningful and useful objects/resources.”
Mrs N Grandi – Year 1 Teacher

“It was very useful having a pupil in school who has a 3D printer at home as he has helped to support the teachers and pupils using the 3D printer as otherwise I think we would have needed to buy in CPD to help with the programme/setting up. Further CPD would be needed for more impact. It has been inspiring for pupils when they have walked past the printer and you can clearly see they are engaged with it. Sarah and her team have been really helpful coming in to help when things have gone wrong with the filament etc so Thank you!”
Jessica, Teacher.

The CREATE Education Project would like to thank the teachers at St. Mary’s for sharing their experiences of the 3D printer loan scheme with us. If you would like to participate in our loan scheme, learn more and download an application form.

In The Classroom

One of the projects at St. Marys involved using the Purple Mash 2Design and Make software to create 3D models. You can learn more about this in our blog, “Accessible 3D modelling software for the very young” and our accompanying 2Design and Make Resource.

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