MiscoeMakerCrew at the Mendon-Upton iFair and our 3D Printing Journey

I’m sad to have missed the district iFair last week while I was away at the National Art Education conference. On the other hand, I am incredibly pleased with how well my students did in my absence! With the help of volunteer parents, Sean Murphy, Dawn Piekarski, Kim Terrell, and Jim Brigham, the booth was set up exactly as planned and the students interacted with visitors, successfully showing them how to design for 3D printing using their iPads. By all reports, the event was a success and my students had a wonderful time sharing their knowledge and skills.

Boxes of materials for the iFair

Earlier that same day, I presented to a crowd of art educators about the Miscoe Hill MiscoeMakerCrew journey with 3D printing. Throughout my presentation, I spoke with pride on the adaptability of my students as well as the intuitive nature of today’s apps and technology. I also demonstrated how well 3D printing fits within the visual art curriculum, especially in a 1:1 iPad school such as ours. Without the iPads, my students would not be able to design for 3D printing. To see what I spoke about and shared with art educators nationwide, have a look at my presentation here: Be A Maker

Presenting at the National Art Education Association conference
Presenting at the National Art Education Association conference / Photo credit: Chris Parker

I am also proud that this big adventure with 3D printing has not cost our district one penny to date. As you can see in the presentation above, the equipment was donated by MakerBot, $99 was raised through crowd-sourcing, and the cost for filament (beyond the four rolls that came with the printer) has been covered with regular Enrichment program materials fees. I have worked on this project on my own time for the past year and a half. The MiscoeMakerCrew met weekly last year as a free, after-school activity. This year, I have utilized two sessions of Art Club to introduce fifth grade students to designing for 3D printing. I enrolled in an intense STEM (Science, technology, Engineering, Math) class, which ran from July through November, 2014, through which I learned to write effective STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) curriculum. Finally, I am ready to include Design for 3D Printing into my art program curriculum. In fact, my sixth grade students are working on the castle unit I designed over the summer, which includes designing for 3D printing on iPads. You can download the Castle STEAM unit here: Castle STEAM Unit

I have presented on my work with 3D printing at many conferences and professional development events throughout this school year. I am grateful to the Mendon-Upton School District for affording me the time to do so. I have been explaining the learning process that I went through and answering a lot of questions about the process and the materials. By doing this, I hope to encourage others to feel confident to try it out and ultimately create a Professional Learning Network of art educators involved in 3D printing. I even created a hashtag for us: #3artsed

In the time between my first presentation at a conference on September 20, 2014 to this most recent event, huge progress has been made in developing inexpensive 3D printers for schools. It is getting easier every day to participate in the 3D printing process. Looking back on the past year and  half, I am grateful for the time spent learning to do something amazing and sharing it with my students. I look forward to whatever the next steps may be.

Here are some great shots from the Mendon-Upton Community iFair taken for me by the watchful parents that managed our booth. They make me feel like I was there and I hope they do that for you, too:

Chloe and Sophia / Photo credit: Dawn Piekarski
Lorenzo and Owen / Photo credit: Dawn Piekarski
Mrs. Swain / Photo credit: Dawn Piekarski
Photo credit: Dawn Piekarski
Photo credit: Dawn Piekarski
Photo credit: Dawn Piekarski
Photo credit: Dawn Piekarski
Photo credit: Dawn Piekarski
Photo credit: Dawn Piekarski
Chris and Mrs. Swain / Photo credit: Dawn Piekarski
Chloe, Sophia, Owen / Photo credit: Dawn Piekarski
Photo credit: Dawn Piekarski
Lorenzo and visitor / Photo credit: Dawn Piekarski
Photo credit: Dawn Piekarski
Photo credit: Dawn Piekarski
Jessica, Chris, Lorenzo, Owen, Sophia / Photo credit: Dawn Piekarski
photo 1
Andrew / Photo by Lee Ann Murphy
photo 2
Photo by Lee Ann Murphy
photo 3
Photo by Lee Ann Murphy

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