I brought my 3D printer in to school on a whim. It immediately got the attention of the students, particularly the 3rd – 5th graders, who pass my office every day on the way to the bathroom. All I did was start putting a few prints on my desk, and the questions started rolling in. And the suggestions for what to print next. In fact, I started getting a steady stream of students in my office to find out what I’d printed last, what I was going to print next, and how all of it worked, anyway. I finally succumbed to the pressure and made a 10-minute presentation on 3D printing to take into the classrooms. Generally, it took me an hour to get through it, or until the teacher ran out of time for me. The kids were so excited, I literally couldn’t get through all of the questions, some of which were really deep and insightful.
I ended with a quick blurb on how they could start designing their own prints, and showed them TinkerCAD. I didn’t do a tutorial, I just opened the program, dragged a shape onto the workspace, and resized it. And I told them I’d print anything they made, within reason. That, apparently, was all they needed. A few days later, I started getting designs coming in. Now I’ve created a small medal for all my Maker kids. I was so happy to see one of them wearing it as a necklace today!