3D Printing and Coding

A couple of weeks ago, my Donors Chooses for getting a 3D Printer, LEGOs and Ozobots was funded and it didn’t take long for my students and myself to get down to using them in my STEAM class. While my students wanted to really rush into creativity as soon as they could, I did remind them of page 60 of Launch about “Design thinking may be slow, but it actually saves time in the long run.” One of the original ideas for the 3D printer was to create skins for our Ozobots. While my students love making skins using traditional paper and tape, there is something about coding a design and then seeing it brought to life that really gets my students’ innovation flowing. Here is a set of lessons and projects we have been doing the last couple of weeks and a few we have planned in the weeks ahead after winter winter break.

  1. img_4925The Keychain design. This is a great way to get students understanding how 3D printing works and a great introduction to design. I have students in my Middle School STEAM elective class create their own keychains. Using Tinkercad, students have to create a keychain using the various 3D objects in Tinkercad that says the most about them. This allows students to really move and FAIL (first attempt in learning) several times. As students realize they have to make sure their designs are touching, not hovering in the air or too big for the print design. Two of my best star far was one that was made to look like a heart with bunny ears and a tail and a Nintendo Splatoon paint gun.
  2. img_49273D Print Contest. One of my other enrichment teachers is working on getting our community garden redesigned this spring and we decided to do it in three parts. The first was using our LEGOs with one of the large baseboards to design it by sections (we are using a walking labyrinth design) Each 4 piece square represents three feet on walking. Next, we had some students use Google Sheets to make a pixel art aerial map of the garden. Using various colors to represent flowers, vegetables and pathways in the garden. Lastly, we had students have a design contest to create a logo for the garden using Tinkercad. I can’t tell you the amount of times I had students saying: “Mr. Read, I can’t do this.” I then showed them how to make the middle section to the labyrinth and then they were off and running in ways I don’t even think they thought they could. Right now it’s such a close competition, I don’t know who is going to win.
  3. img_4891Ozobot Sleigh Race. Originally the 3D printer was designing skins for our Ozobots, well my instructional coach and I came up with a great idea. We found some designs on Thingiverse for Santa’s Sleigh and reindeer and immediately we started having design ideas and came up with several sleigh skins for our Ozobots. We are having a Ozobot sleigh race using paper and coding for a race to the North Pole. Students have to draw sleigh trails and make the quickest, but have at least 2 turns and use five sets of Ozobot line code and they have to keep it looking like a trail. We already had some practices with students in 5th grade making snowflakes from paper and then coding the Ozobots to navigate around the various holes and obstacles on the snowflake. The 3D print sleighs weigh almost nothing for any of our Ozobot Bits and my Ozobot Evos even say: “HO HO HO” when coded to move on the trails. Great way to create some great STREAM (science, technology, reading, engineering, art & mathematics) lessons and projects.
  4. img_5011The Buddy Prints. Very proud of this one and it was a joined effort by two students and myself. Being a Tickle Ambassador, I love using Tickle Code for our Spheros, Parrot Drones, my BB-8 and hopefully in the new year Dash & Dot. However, Ozobots have their own universal coding app Ozoblocky and there are several other Apps both on IOS, Android and Chrome OS that work great with Ozobots. However, one of my students saw my current Donors Choose with Dash & Dot and said why I couldn’t just get one of our other bots to draw the lines for the Ozobots while using Tickle. I found a few designs on Thingiverse, but since we have a Flashforge Finder our print bed is smaller and we couldn’t angle the design correctly to print one out. However, another student asked why I couldn’t just modify a design or two make it fit a Sphero and that’s what we did. We have a simple draw design for our Sphero and then code it to draw the lines and add code coloring to what the Sphero makes and the Ozobot follows it extremely well. Even better, using an Ozobot Evo, you can record your pathways with the Sphero and have a “Follow the Leader” game with your Sphero and Ozobot using Tickle. A great one is to do an X-wing split off from the Star Wars movies. Just have the Spheros or Ollies be the squad leaders and then have the Ozobots split off for a battle with the Empire or First Order. Lot’s of fun.


These are a few ideas you can try with your students, give it a try or look into some adaptations in 2017.


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