Teachers at The Mead have used the school’s 3D printer to develop children’s understanding of shadow and light by working with the 3D CAD system and printer.

Lower key stage two children worked on a project to develop a simple light cover, with the aim of differentiating this project for younger and older children in future. The expected outcomes of the project were:

  1. The children would produce an individual light cover that could be placed over a light source
  2. The design of the cover will affect the type of shadow produced and would vary between children

The project demonstrated how 2D sketches can be translated into 3D models, and helped to develop children’s ability to visualise items in three dimensions.

Children learned how to use Solidworks to create their 3D solid models; their knowledge of 3D printing processes and how to operate the 3D printer was also developed. In addition, the skills children acquired were:

  • Designing for 3D printing
  • Materials and their properties
  • Personal skills – confidence, teamwork and problem-solving

The project team found that having a small number of children pre-trained on CAD and tasked to help others can drastically improve a class’s progression. The waiting time for pupils during the early learning of the software is reduced and the teacher can direct more advanced help to those most in need of further support.

Children throughout the school have been very enthusiastic about having access to a 3D printer. This enthusiasm has transferred into the design and technology projects. Children have produced items with a much higher degree of accuracy than they could have done using normal primary school DT processes. They have also shown a higher desire to improve their designs and make more products, a direct result of using this new technology.

Mr Cunningham, Deputy Headteacher / Science & Technology Lead, The Mead Primary School