Last term, Linaker Primary school had the opportunity to borrow a 3D printer for a month through the CREATE Education Project FREE loan scheme. This gave them the opportunity to explore how 3D printing could be used to support curriculum topic work from Reception up to Year 6. Each class designed a model to support work in a chosen subject with pupils in year 6 working on the 3D design elements.

Each class discussed how the 3D printer could be incorporated into their topic work and had a competition to design a mascot.

  • Reception chose a teddy bear to support their literacy work
  • Year 1 a bog baby to highlight their work on the book
  • Year 2 created a super hero
  • Year 3 chose Lord Ganesha for their work on Hinduism
  • Year 4 a Roman shield
  • Year 5 a Viking helmet
  • Year 6 created a small sphinx then each pupils created a hieroglyph which was made into a keyring.

Year 6 pupils used a CAD programme called SketchUp to experiment with design and then printed out their best one using the Cura slicing programme recommended with the 3D printer.

The children enjoyed watching the design printed out and were enthusiastic to see their designs come to life.  Year 6 were especially interested in the process and impressed that their simple designs were very effective in ‘real-life’.

The main challenge was the time taken to make even very small models and the printer had to be left running as the pupils could not spend extended periods of time overseeing the process, luckily, the school’s IT technician was on hand to keep an eye on progress.  This did not prevent accidents though as the plastic would often fold back on itself creating half formed designs as the process would need to be started again.

Finally, all designs were finished and the pupils liked being able to design and create and considered requesting a 3D printer be purchased for school so that the possibilities could be fully explored.

We would like to thank Linaker Primary School for sharing their experiences of 3D printing with us and demonstrating how 3D printing can be utilised to engage pupils across the Primary curriculum.

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