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We are seeing rapid growth of 3D printing in education globally. As leaders and educators from every corner of the globe begin to appreciate and understand the potential of this remarkable learning tool we are seeing more and more government initiatives and funding that aims to drive 3D printing in to core academic curriculum at various educational stages.

A growing number of educational institutions are beginning to grasp the concept that as we move further in to a digital age, we absolutely must teach kids a new set of key skills based around 3D design, robotics and 3d printing. In the UK for example, Lord Kenneth Baker, Chair of the edge foundation and former British education secretary has called for ‘radical action to prepare young people for the next industrial revolution’ and as such has very recently drawn up an eight point education plan. Each element of the plan revolves around preparing the next generation and of particular interest is point 2;

‘All primary schools should have 3D printers and design software’.

This plan is not exclusive to the UK and we are starting to see similar trends globally. The prime minister of Malaysia this month launched a digital maker movement, an initiative that looks to create a nation of digital makers. This movement in partnership with Ministry of Education (MoE) and the support of private sectors and academia, will expose Malaysian youths to the creative and innovative aspects of digital technology. Back to the UK for a moment and a statement from Lord Baker that really struck a chord with us:

‘Future workforce will need technical expertise in areas such as design and computing, plus skills which robots cannot replace – flexibility, empathy, creativity and enterprise. Right now, this thinking is almost entirely absent from the core curriculum in mainstream schools. In the Digital Revolution, knowledge is as necessary as ever, but it is not enough. It has to be connected with the real world through practical applications.’

Most schools have started their venture in to the unknown with a single 3D printer, occasionally adding more with time but in many cases lacking the direction and resources to truly unlock the potential that this technology has to offer when teaching young people. PrintLab’s mission is to change this by offering educators a streamlined approach to 3D printing for schools. By partnering with a number of key brands in the 3D printing industry and appointing a dedicated global network of resellers they can provide educators with a local solution that includes everything from hardware and software to curriculum, materials, training and maintenance.

Today, we are going to take a closer look at a key element of their 3D printing ecosystem: Curriculum, and give a brief overview of some lessons that are available for free. Makerversity DIY offers simple and exciting lesson plans, allowing educators to incorporate hands-on activities in to core curriculum subjects. Each lesson comes with a detailed teacher’s guide, lesson plan, presentation, instruction sheets, exercise sheets and an equipment list. There are four full Makerversity DIY lessons you can try for free, each of which is detailed below. Simply head here, create an account and add them to your lab using the interactive interface. PrintLab will then digitally upload the lessons to your account.

Lesson #1 – Design your own Pavilion with CAD

This lesson is based around designing a pavilion and building a 3D model of it using a 3D printer. The students will go through a fast-forward design process that includes orthogonal 4-view drawing, basic 3D CAD modelling and 3D printing. By taking part in this process, they will be able to connect an analogue sketch to a digital 3D drawing and back to a physical 3D printed model, observing how their design changes and evolves between these stages. Students will learn design, drawing and CAD skills and will experience what it looks like to be a designer-architect.

This lesson could be tied into the study of

  • Design Process
  • Computer Aided Design & Manufacturing
  • Sketching and Drawing skills
  • Maths: elevations.
  • Orthographic 4-view drawing,
  • Urban Planning

Lesson #2 – Build your own Sandtimer

This lesson uses bespoke, 3D printed components designed by Makerversity DIY, alongside everyday household items to enable children to produce a sand timer. This is a great opportunity for pupils to hone fine motor skills through a simple hands-on activity, whilst also practicing accuracy and measurement skills. Throughout the session, key questions will lead pupils to make predictions about and explore the effect of modifications to the design. The use of 3D printed components can open up discussion about production processes, materials and environmental or ethical implications of design.

This lesson could be tied into the study of

  • Weight, mass and gravity
  • Design & technology: connecting materials
  • Measuring time, history of time
  • Design & technology: connecting materials
  • Maths: measurement
  • Conversion
  • History of measurement units
  • Art & design: form/colour
  • Media studies: logos
  • Chemistry: chemical reactions
  • History of printing processes

Lesson #3 – Make your own measuring tape

By asking pupils to build their own measuring tape, this lesson provides a simple way to explain the concept of using units of measurement to record distance, as well as how to convert between different units of measurement. We believe that using hands-on activities such as this can be incredibly helpful to pupils who struggle with conversion between systems of measurement. It helps pupils to separate the idea of actual distance and puts them in control of their learning. It enables them to practice accuracy and measurement skills, fractions, division and ratios, as well as encouraging their discussion around systems of measurement and how to gauge what units are appropriate for different sized objects or distances.

Lesson #4 – Design your own team uniform

This lesson is a simple and fun introduction to graphic art and visual identity. Pupils will develop an understanding of how different brands present themselves and how their logos and visual identities enact this. Pupils will work in teams to develop their own logos which can then be applied to any garment, overalls, toolbelt using a heat press or iron. It aims to teach pupils to use hand drawing as a tool to communicate ideas and to develop these ideas using a combination of manual and digital tools. The printed toolbelts will afford pupils the opportunity to apply these skills practically and finish with a functioning and useful outcome.

We are the official PrintLab partner for New Zealand. We would love to see more kids learning about 3D Printing and we hope you find the free resources above useful. If have you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at and if you’re feeling adventurous, why not send us a photo of you and your students getting hands-on with our curriculum?

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