There is a thriving maker movement in United States, flea and craft markets filled with beautiful handmade goods, hackers repurposing old electronics, new moms knitting sweaters, urban gardeners canning their own pickles, etc. Americans have a strong desire to create and innovate. Blogs have enabled people to share their crafts with fellow crafters all over the world. Our country needs a brain infusion to get back on our A game. The brains are all around us just waiting to be provoked. The expression “it’s not rocket science” implies resistance to that level of knowledge. We need shoot for the stars to reach our full potentials.
Many of my students do not have the Internet in their homes. I am going to expose them to the DIY world through the MakerBot. I was recently loaned a Thing-O-Matic 3D printer from MakerBot Industries. The SMART program at NYUPoly has a relationship with the people at MakerBot. My summer research experience enabled me to part of a pilot program introducing 3D printing into the classroom.
This machine will allow my students to print solid objects that they create in a 3D modeling program such as Google SketchUp, 3dtin or TinkerCad. I believe children will find this process very exciting. Building in a virtual 3D space will make much more sense once the children hold a tangible object that they created.
Our first project will blend science, social studies, engineering, computer science and design. The children will be designing towns on a model river. The river table will teach the children about erosion and the composition of Earth’s surface. They will be researching different types of buildings by visiting various neighborhoods in NYC as part of the social studies curriculum. This will be the example for the children to design their own buildings using 3dtin.Some classes will be working with a civil engineer, Eduardo, to learn about site planning.
I must get some rest now. I will be introducing the MakerBot to my students tomorrow. I am very excited to see their reaction. Have a wonderful rest of the week.