At Yargo Elementary, Mr. Rogan’s fifth grade class has been utilizing 3D printer technology as mechanism for student debate and inquiry while studying World War 2 and reading “The Diary of Anne Frank”. The students were given the task of creating a World War 2 chess set that created tangible representations of their understanding of the key elements of this global conflict.

First, the students had to define the key features/powers of the standard pieces of a chess set. Then, they needed to research people, places, events, or technology from World War 2 with similar attributes. For instance, the king was often seen as more of a political figurehead (Churchill or Hitler) while the queen was characterized by a military figurehead (Eisenhower or Rommel). Finally, they needed to design their chess pieces with Tinkercad; upload them to Makerbot; and, print out the 3D chess pieces for their boards.

Students have also been researching the war from the perspective of Anne Frank’s Diary. They were given the task of recreating a 3D model of Anne’s life within the Secret Annex utilizing the primary source information from Anne’s diary. This often necessitated students doing supplemental geographical, cultural, and historical research to truly comprehend the Anne’s perspective. Once again, students were provided with an open forum to discuss and debate their interpretations of the information conveyed within the entries. The final justifications were presented to the teacher.

Students then began the process of designing their Annex furnishings utilizing the Tinkercad and Makerbot. Often times, this led to further discussions about the size, color, and historically accurate depictions of the furnishings. The 3D technology turned the abstract into the real; and, ultimately, provided the students with a door to the past.

If you are interested in adding a 3D design and/or printing component to any of your units, please emailĀ Lee Bane, the STEAM Integration Coordinator.