Designing, Programming, and 3D-Printing in 3rd Grade STEM Class

Unit background PRIOR to 3D-printing original designs in 3rd grade STEM Class…

Throughout their Sound Unit, aptly named The Sound of Music, our 3rd Grade STEM students at Allendale Columbia School focused on how sound works and how physical environments and culture play an important role on the specific materials used to create musical instruments. To introduce this part of the unit, the students participated in various station activities centered on the percussion, string, and woodwind families of musical instruments.  Each station activity compared and contrasted different types of materials used to create the instruments.  For example, does pitch change if an instrument is filled with one type of material versus another?  What happens when different materials (wire, rope, cord) are used for transmitting sound waves? Students learned even more from our visiting musicians Dr. Keith Jones, Mr. Artie Cruz, and Mr. Gabe Costanzo who each demonstrated and played some of the lesser known instruments from various countries, including: Didgeridoo, Harmonium, Theramin, Guzheng, and more! Visit STEMspotlight to view more photos and videos of these classroom learning experiences.

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Back to 3D-printing original designs in 3rd grade S.T.E.M. Class…

For their Sound Unit final project, our 3rd grade STEM students each devised their own story behind an imaginary discovery of an ancient, musical instrument. Students documented details on the location of this discovery, the history and culture of the imagined community, as well as the general design and function of their musical instrument. Culminating this writing activity, the remaining Sound Unit classes resumed in the new Design and Innovation Lab housing the school 3D-printers. In the lab, students continued with further designing their “ancient musical instruments” with initially sketching and then diagramming, scaling, and providing specific measurements to be programmed using Tinkercad.

To get started on the next phase of this project, the students were provided class instruction on using the computer-aided design (CAD) programming software under the direction of the Lower School STEM Team and in collaboration with Middle School Hybrid Learning Coordinator, Mr. Tony Tepedino. Students quickly grasped the programming concepts, were highly engaged with seeing their original designs evolve into actual CAD models, and did a great job with also assisting their classmates with design and programming suggestions.

Mr. Tepedino also demonstrated and explained the 3D-printing process as well as the design implications with ensuring structural integrity in the final, 3D-printed projects. Most exciting of all, our STEM students were thrilled with the physical models they first imagined, then designed, programmed, and successfully 3D-printed!

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