A Report from Ian Klapper, Technology Integrator and Support
City and Country School is one of the first Maker Schools. As an extension of children learning through doing, students continue to navigate through virtual and ‘real’ space in Computer. This year 3D printing has been incorporated into that work. We have used this technology as a tool for students to conceptualize, experiment, and actualize their vision. The students have taken quickly to the new technology, which is not surprising considering their use of other open-ended materials (blocks, paints, woodworking, etc.) throughout their time at C&C. Working through their ideas with this tool, in essence, makes use of one of the most open-ended materials currently available. Here are a few examples of the students' work with 3D printing:
(SEE PHOTOS BELOW)
The XsG have been researching Viking daily life. As part of their Social Studies curriculum, the Group learned about the Lewis chess pieces, a 12th-century chess set that is carved in walrus ivory. The children joined together in pairs and created designs for their own Viking-inspired chess pieces. They looked at each other’s work and gave constructive feedback.
They then used a “virtual clay” program to sculpt their work. They experimented with the various tools in the program to etch, extrude, and smooth their works. The challenge of this project was to create a functional piece that could be sturdy and balanced enough to stand on a chessboard, have complimentary design to create a unified set, and retain the character of something from Viking culture.
The XIsD looked at Renaissance architecture from Venice. They used Adobe Illustrator to breakdown the geometric shapes that made up the various structures they chose to research. We used Tinkercad, an online 3D modeling program, to "build" their work. The Group’s projects were then printed to create a miniature model of Venice.
The XIsJ created Social Studies games based on their study of the Chinese myth, “Journey to the West,” and the travels of the legendary Monk Xuanzang. Students used a variety of media to make their games, including Scratch, a block-based programming language, and Kudu, a game creation application. Some students used Adobe Illustrator to design their game pieces and had their designs extruded in Tinkercad.
The XsM are studying Medieval wax seals. They are in the midst of creating their own patterns in Adobe Illustrator, which are transformed into a 3D shape in Tinkercad and then printed. A student from the XIsD visited the group to show them how traditional metal stamps were used with wax to seal envelopes. The Group will eventually be testing their 3D printed seals with wax.
In the Upper School Elective, two XIIIs are exploring how to use 3D printing to create unique jewelery designs and decorative objects.
Recently movable type was designed, printed, and tested on the XIs' printing press. The font had an old-fashioned, rough texture to it. We look forward to experimenting more with this.
3D printing has proven a valuable learning tool, and will continue to be used at City and Country School to express students’ visions.