Less than 10 years ago, 3D printing seemed like science fiction, but the technology has made some huge strides since then. In fact, it has become mainstream, and it seems like there is no end to what 3D printers can do in areas such as medicine, forensics, architecture, or design, just to name few. There are even 3D printers out there which are used to make other 3D printers. Since 3D printing has become more affordable, it can be used as a valuable tool in education, especially when it comes to STEM disciplines.
STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and math are disciplines which are going to become even more necessary in the future, and therefore it is important to engage students and bring the somewhat complicated science concepts closer to them. But, that doesn’t mean that 3D printing can’t be used equally well in other classes. With that in mind, here are six classes that can benefit from 3D printing.
According to Henry Connor, who works as a manager for EssayOnTime, 3D printing can revolutionize the way we are teaching history to our children. As you know, some history lessons can be pretty confusing, and it can get difficult for students to even envision something that had happened centuries ago. The solution? Using a 3D printer, teachers can create models or full-size historical artefacts, such as weapons, tools, artefacts, and musical instruments in order to engage their students and provide an upgrade over the visual learning materials, such as photographs or films.
This one is fairly obvious. While chemistry classes, and especially lab work, provide students with sufficient hands-on experience which allows them to view the reactions they are learning about right before their very eyes, some things, such as atomic or molecular bonds, are much harder to demonstrate. With the help of a 3D printer, you could, for instance, make a model for each allotrope of carbon, including graphite, diamond, and even carbon nanotubes. They would be able to learn how the same atoms can create something entirely different once they are arranged into different structures.
Most geography classes don’t go much beyond textbooks and presenting their students with various types of maps. 3D printing could change all that. For instance, you could print out topographic maps that simulate the surface of the Moon. You could also create scaled down mountains, such as Mount Everest or the Alps, plains, river banks, or even a section of the ocean floor containing the Mariana Trench, and forever retire those papier-mâché models. There is really no limit as to what you can do here.
Biology is pretty engaging on its own, but once it gets down to the level of cells, tissues, or organs, things can get pretty complicated for students. But, imagine if every biology teachers was able to print out a 3D model of a human heart with moving parts, and then demonstrate how efficient our cardiovascular system is. Or, they could print out cross sections of other organisms, or even eliminate the need to dissect animals altogether.
At first sight, it seems like there is not much room for art in the increasingly STEM-oriented future. However, design and art go together with technology like peanut butter goes with jelly. 3D printers could introduce a whole new way of artistic expression in art class. For instance, an art teacher could tell students to draw an object or a design on paper, which they would then print out in 3D using a printer. Not only would they get to try their hand at design, but they would also get to expand their spatial reasoning and watch a how conversion from 2D to 3D happens.
Unlike diagrams or drawings, objects printed out using 3D printers have actual physical properties, which makes them ideal for physics lessons. In this case, students would be able to learn how Newton’s laws work, instead of just solving equations. They could also build stuff like bridges, wind turbines, or robots, using a process that produces immediate results.
3D printing is definitely one of those technologies that will take us into the future. But, in order to achieve that, we need to make sure that it becomes a part of everyone’s education. Ultimately, both teachers and students benefit from it.