Over the past few years, I have been fortunate to work alongside a number of teachers on a variety of 3D Printing projects: keychains, nameplates, irregular dice, objects that would've helped during the Industrial Revolution, and more. Early last fall, Mr. Robinson asked about doing a project with his students, and we landed on the idea of bubble wands. Drawn from the vision of Ashley Toews and Patricia Vandenberg, we created a plan to have students design their own bubble wands in Desmos and Tinkercad.
Then we thought about it more, and realized that there was so much more potential.
Mr. Robinson, the department chair and Integrated Math 2-Honors teacher at the school, wanted to make it a collaborative project. So, with the approval of our admin and theirs, we met with a neighboring elementary school to talk about the possibility of this being a collaboration with their students.
I was there as the "expert" in 3D printing, along with Mr. Robinson, and we had a phenomenal discussion with the elementary teaching team regarding what would take place, how the logistics would play out, and more. We agreed that this would be exciting for the kids, but had no idea how it would really play out.
The elementary groups, grades 4 through 6, were partnered up with high school "engineers" who would take their Google Drawings (with geometric figures, as part of their content standards), put them into Desmos, then bring them to life with Tinkercad and the 3D printer. Completed in December, the products were sent to the printer soon thereafter, and the printer stayed busy through the first two weeks of January. 2 models were printed for each group so that they could share, and many were printed in different sizes, just to make it fun.
On the day of, we had nearly 200 elementary students appear in the cafeteria, ready to meet their engineers and learn about the process.
IT WAS A SUCCESS!!!
From there, we headed outside because, well, you can't just hand a kid a wand and say that it works; THEY NEEDED TO EXPERIENCE IT!
The leaders took their groups out to the tins, set them up, and...
The looks on their faces: priceless!
One side benefit that we were hoping for, and got back in spades, was the connection between the elementary and high school students. The high schoolers were prepped with "look, you have to realize that it might be really intimidating for some kids to be on a high school campus." The elementary school kids came in wide-eyed and excited, and there were zero issues. The only problem? How do we keep doing this?!
As we were closing it down for the day, I walked alongside a group and smiled as I heard their interaction:
Elementary Student: "This was so much fun. I can't wait for high school."
High School Student: "Not every day is like this, but I'm sure happy you are here."
ES: "No, that's ok. I just thought it would be scary, but it's not."
HSS: "Keep working hard and you can do some pretty awesome things here."
Y'know, that made my week. A kid who looks forward to what is to come and a kid showing appreciation for what she has, all while encouraging the next wave of world-changers.
Happy "Bubbles" Fishing