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3D printing for Math and for projects

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Keywords: 3d printing, technology, manufacturing, computer science
Subject(s): Information Skills, Art, Algebra, Photography, Robotics, Civics, Social Studies, Video, Animation, Technology, Geography, Chemistry, Geometry, Science, Journalism, Life Science, Writing, Drama, History, Reading, Physics, Trigonometry, Math
Grades 6 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Destiny Christian School, Oklahoma City, OK
Planned By: Russ Tarpey
Original Author: Russ Tarpey, Oklahoma City
3D printing works by giving the machine instructions. Many of these instructions are algebraic in nature. By combining algebra concepts with designing or altering a 3D object, students will have a chance to see, and hold, the results of their computation. Students will push their mathematics skills to higher levels when they realize to print simple objects requires simple math, while complex objects require more complex math.

An introductory lesson to Functions through 3D printing:
A function is made up of inputs and outputs. This is just like a 3D printer where the inputs are plastic resin and instructions, and the outputs are the objects that it prints. Since there are two different categories of inputs (plastic and instructions), we can first talk about what happens to the outputs when the inputs are changed. If we feed red plastic into the machine, our output will be a red object. However, if we feed blue plastic into the machine, we will get a blue object.
Now, the instructions change the shape of the output. With this in mind, we can take a look at the types of equations that would determine the shape and the size of the output. Mathematical concepts that would be discussed would include scale, similar, and congruent shapes.
The students can be asked to supply the inputs or at least have some input on the inputs and at the end of the lesson, an actual physical object would be produced.

A 3D printer would be an amazing teaching tool that would not only benefit the math department. But, other departments would also benefit. Our science teacher would love to have a 3D printout of a human skull!
Materials: Art Tools, Pen Readers, Printers, Middle, High, Social Studies, Inspiration, Authoring and Publishing, Slideshow, Animation, Early Composition, Prof. Dev. Workshops, Integrating Technology
Other Items: 1 XIO 3D printer, $680 each, total of $680.00