"Hey Stevens, I have a 3D printer and I'm doing a fidget toy lesson plan next week. Wanna help me out?"
Sure. Let's do this. But if I'm going to do it, I want to be mindful of how and why.
With a couple days and some patience, I came up with a lesson plan that went along with the handout. The goal was to design a lesson that didn't get too deep into the hysteria of the "what's popular now" and more into the math of why things succeed and why they fail.
There was some fair pushback:
The latest fad doesn't need math's help to stay exciting, and I'm not lobbying for it to do so. What I am lobbying for is for kids to have an opportunity to:
- Take ownership and design their own
- Understand why some designs don't work
- Understand why other designs work better
- Help kids figure out why they cost so darned much
- Relate their current interest to a course they're already in
- Use 3D printing (or any form of creation) to make a design into reality
Is this a cheap shot? I don't think so. People (including me) gripe about the cost of products on Etsy, or handmade fashions, all the time. Little do they know how much time and energy the one-off products take. "Oh that's OK, I'll just print a bunch of them and it'll be all good." This is great, as long as you have people lining up to buy.
On a personal level, this is turning into a lesson on perseverance. I erroneously measured the bearings to be 5/8" and they are really 7/8", so I'm going back to the printer to try again. While it was a boneheaded move, it's one that I know kids are going to make... no, that's not why I made it.