3D Printing and Science in Schools

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Recently I’ve been working with the Wonder of Science program to travel to rural schools, speak about research, science and 3D printing.  My career in the sciences was heavily influenced by outreach such as this, so it’s great to have the opportunity to go back and do the same from the opposite side of the fence.

I’ve visited Wandoan, Surat and Roma teaching earthquakes to rocket launch angles to prepare the students for a challenge task.  This model of learning is particularly interesting as it is based on enquiry based learning – the students can choose what aspect of the topic interests them the most and pursue it.  The challenge task is also presented at a regional science fair, giving the students confidence in their abilities.  Events like this also show achievement, which is often a necessary ‘leg in the door’ for students to work out what they enjoy.

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One of these schools had only three students in their year 10 class.  You know it’s rural when one of the students asks you “You been piggin miss?”

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Even though students at Wandoan SS pass the time by hunting, they don’t miss out on technology.  I found this little hub full of electronics and two 3D printers which was awesome to see.  The teacher championing this area is also building a 3D printed tank for the students to play with.


Recently I travelled to Cairns to visit Trinity Bay State High, this time with a 3D printer in tow.  It was a heavy beast – to get this on a plane, I used a large, plastic tub with wheels packed with foam, truck tie downs and a collapsible trolley.  Altogether, it weighed 32 kg.  Remind me not to check into a hotel room on the 3rd floor with no elevator.

The students thoroughly enjoyed the visit and had lots of thoughtful, creative questions about 3D printing.  As part of my demonstration, I also 3D scanned and 3D printed one student from each class for them to take home.  See photos below:

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In future I’m keen to 3D model environments or extras to put the 3D scan in, like getting eaten by a shark or riding a dinosaur.