3D Printing – Designing student inquiry projects around design

I may have access to a 3D Printer for a bit. I’d like to design some “design problems” that line-up with our curriculum in my Grade 12 Workplace (SNC4E) science class. Here is an overview of 3D Printing.

Our units of study in Grade 12 Science include:

  • Disease Prevention
  • Workplace Safety
  • Chemical Reactions
  • Electricity
  • Nutrition

Looking through the curriculum, here are some problems that I have thought of that will hopefully lead students to cover many of the curriculum expectations while designing a product or product improvement;

  • People often avoid wearing protective gear when it comes to preventing the spread of disease. For example, rarely do people wear face masks. See how this caused some problems here. How could the design of face masks improve the chances that people will actually wear them, slowing the spread of disease? 
  • People often forget or avoid wearing their safety goggles in the workplace. How could the design of safety goggles improve the chances that people will actually wear them?
  • Packing your own lunch can improve the chances that you will maintain a healthy diet. Zipper baggies and other disposable materials can create a problem for the environment. What type of food containers might make it more likely that high school students would actually pack something healthy from home to take to school?
  • Many workplaces have high noise levels that can cause hearing problems after long-term exposure. Yet, many workers do not wear noise protection. How could the design of ear protection improve the chances that people will wear them, or how could the design make them more effective at blocking out noise?
  • Often chemicals are purchased in bulk to save money. Storage and use of these large containers can be hazardous. What type of container might be safer to store a specific type of chemical in for everyday use?
  • Electrical extension cords often become frayed and dangerous, yet many people continue to use them. How could the design of a new electrical extension cord, or an adapter prevent this dangerous situation?

Do you have any other ideas? Have you used a 3D Printer in your school?

2 Replies to “3D Printing – Designing student inquiry projects around design”

  1. Dear Rambler –
    Ever see Maker Magazine? you might be able to find some very cool ideas from this source. You can order a subscription or you can access their magazine online. They have been talking a lot about ideas for the 3D printer – so you might want to check them out.


    On a side note – in his scifi book, Makers, Corey Doctorow uses the 3D printer a lot as a big part of the story line (free online or you can buy in print). I haven’t had a chance to finish it but it was pretty interesting (free download on your iPhone/iPad). Doctorow, a Canadian author believes in copyright free – hence the free availability of his works. I really liked his Little Brother book.

    Hope this helps

  2. Thanks Cat! I have seen Doctorow’s stuff (its downloaded but hasn’t been read yet), but have not seen Maker magazine! Thanks for sharing… exciting March Break reads 🙂

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