The sixth grade students were recently tasked in S.T.E.M. to create learning centers for the girls and boys in the Preschool and PreK using the Makerbot 3D printer.
“We’ve been discussing the notion of 3D printing, ” said Mrs. Bellopede, Villa’s S.T.E.M. Teacher – “not about how it’s going to change our lives, but how it is going to help us to connect with others. The girls were a little disappointed at first that they were not going to create something they could take home. I explained to them that the theme of the lesson is how we can share our knowledge of 3D printing to enhance someone else’s experience. They understood it in the end. They were so proud of their work and even wanted to make them better once they saw how the ELC students were interacting with them.”
In preparation for the project, the girls learned how the Preschool and PreK students are learning to sort by colors, shapes, and numbers, and are learning patterns, letters and pre-literacy skills. The girls did research on sample learning centers before creating their designs in Tinkercad, a simple, online 3D design and 3D printing tool. They took into account the audience, what skill their center reinforced, what they needed in order to make their center work, how many pieces it would be, what it would look like, and the size of the pieces. The girls then sketched their solutions on paper, to help them to make decisions the about size and scale.
“I learned a great deal about leadership and teamwork throughout this project. I think one of the most important things I learned about working with others is that “it takes a village to complete a project.” No matter how capable you believe yourself to be, or how much you know about a subject, two heads are always better than one,” said sixth grader, Makenna W.
Once their manipulatives were printed, the girls planned small group lessons to share them with the Preschool and PreK students in Villa’s Early Learning Center. One group of girls taught the alphabet centers, while the others taught the number recognition center. The ELC students had a lot of fun learning from the “big girls,” as they call them. “We got to spell out our names with the letters!” said one student. “And we got to trace the numbers with the pointer!” shouted another.
“I enjoyed learning how to 3D print and design a station that can truly help out own school community,” said sixth grader Charlotte P. We are very lucky to have used this great website and printer to 3D print our designs… It was very special and kind that we designed these stations for the Early Learning Center that they could use everyday.”
Empathy was the theme of the lesson. How can we help others by sharing our talents to help better their experiences? – “My favorite part of the experience was watching them do for someone else,” said Mrs. Bellopede. “When we initially started doing the project they were excited about printing something for themselves. Their lesson with the students drove the point home for them – seeing the ELC kids enjoy their own products. It even made them want to make them better!”
Thank you girls for sharing your talents and knowledge with our youngest Villa girls and boys!