With the growing adoption of new technologies in the classroom, students are
becoming more prepared for success in the 21st century. By exposing students
to new and emerging technologies and hands-on learning at an earlier age,
they are able to quickly develop new skill sets and gain a greater understanding of core concepts. 3D printing and 3D printed curriculum have never been more approachable or as well-developed as they are today, and they have been shown to be highly-effective learning tools, especially at K-5 grade levels. Christine Tarver, a 5th grade teacher, has experienced just this sort of success within her classroom.
"The experiences that I'm giving them now in 5th grade might lay some foundation for what they might do in their professional careers later."
Ms. Tarver teaches at Lewis Carroll Elementary School in Merritt Island, Florida: a
school whose mission is to empower its students to believe in themselves by giving them the tools they will need to become future leaders. She is determined to give her students the best possible education and is passionate in her efforts to achieve that goal. During her 11 years as an educator, Ms. Tarver began to notice that her students were becoming less-receptive toward traditional methods of teaching.
"With traditional methods of teaching - when students are working on a worksheet, textbook, or are just writing - it's just a mundane task. I have found in my years of teaching that my students aren't as active in this type of learning. They need more."
With these observations in mind, Ms. Tarver has continuously sought out new and
unique ways in which she can incorporate technology into her classroom in order to help create an environment that increases student engagement and collaboration. Recently, she discovered MyStemKits - pre-made 3D printed lesson plans for K-12 STEM curriculum that aligns with NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) and Common Core standards - and quickly realized that this was the solution that she needed for her students.
"I feel as though it is part of my responsibility as an educator to seek new technology to incorporate into my curriculum. With students so widely immersed in the digital age, MyStemKits and 3D printing presented a way to bring lessons to life for them in a new and exciting way."
MyStemKits works in tandem with a 3D printer to produce 3D printed manipulatives that pair perfectly with their accompanying lessons. Most MyStemKits’ lesson includes verified and tested 3D printable files, a teacher guide, student assessments, an extensive lesson plan, and additional student activities and handouts. Initially, Ms. Tarver was a bit intimidated by the 3D printer due to her lack of experience operating one. Once she went through the setup instructions, however, she realized just how easy it was to get started
using the 3D printer with MyStemKits. MyStemKits provides a web-based, one-click-print interface that automatically sends the 3D files for the lesson plan directly to the 3D printer without having to adjust any settings.
"Having a 3D printer in my classroom initially was a little bit scary. But now that I have one, I'm currently printing 3D models from MyStemKits.com. I've realized how easy it is and how accessible it is to bring this type of resource and technology into my classroom. It is something that excites my kids every day."
After implementing MyStemKits curriculum in her classroom, Ms. Tarver noticed a
significant improvement in her students’ ability to grasp difficult concepts. Among the most useful lessons that she integrated in her classroom were the Basic Shapes Kits. Not only were her students more actively engaged with the 3D printed lessons, they were also able to master many of the core concepts of the material a lot quicker than before. Confusion with geometric shapes was no longer an issue!
"The benefits of using MyStemKits in a lesson like the Basic Shapes Kit is that the 3D printed shapes are distractors - shapes that might look like a triangle but do not fit the defining attributes of a triangle. So, what your students will do is really process if they really know the defining attributes of that shape."
Ms. Tarver uses the 3D printed objects to test her students’ base knowledge of the various concepts as they were presented in grades K-4, thus ensuring that they are ready to move on to new topics for the 5th grade. When a student shows signs that they may need a little extra help with a given concept, the 3D printed manipulatives make it very easy to work through their misunderstandings.
Now feeling even more confident in her teaching abilities, Ms. Tarver is completely satisfied using MyStemKits in her classroom. Her students’ positive responses to the 3D printed manipulatives and their greater understanding of geometric concepts has her feeling certain that she is helping to prepare them for their next endeavors.
"If you're thinking about integrating a digital resource, such as a 3D printer, or you want to learn more about it, I would highly suggest going to MyStemKits.com and just checking it out. I think you would be surprised at the ease in which you can begin integrating these types of resources into your instruction."
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About Robo + MyStemKits
Robo is a company based in San Diego, California, USA, focused on the design and distribution of 3D printers and associated products for the desktop segment of the 3D printing industry. Robo’s smart and easy-to-use 3D printers, which are perfectly suited for education with Wi-Fi connectivity, Chromebook compatibility, and enhanced safety features, deliver a true end-to-end 3D printing solution for education alongside MyStemKits curriculum.
MyStemKits is the owner of the world’s largest online library of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) curriculums with 3D printable kits for
K-12 schools, all developed to meet Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Together, Robo is poised to
create more opportunities for 3D printing within education to allow students to innovate, collaborate, and advance their project-based learning skills.
5th Grade Teacher
Lewis Carroll Elementary School
Increase in student engagement
Introducing new technology advances youth in the classroom
Preparing students for the 21st century
Angle Tester Kit
Basic Shapes Kits (Circles, Triangles, Polygons, Quadrilaterals, & Right Solids)
Composing Polygons Kit
Decomposing Shapes Kit
Partitioning Circles Kit
Partitioning Rectangles Kit