ZVerse partnered with Bridge Creek Elementary, a public school in South Carolina’s Richland II district, to bring the power of 3D printing into their curriculum. Education is rapidly becoming a huge market in the 3D printing industry. 3D models are used as teaching aids in science and geography courses, and students are able to make 3D prototypes in engineering courses.
However, many schools do not have access to, or the budget for, 3D printers. Furthermore, many schools do not have staff that can create 3D printable files. The ZVerse team wanted to share our resources and knowledge in 3D file creation and 3D printing with a local school.
We worked with Carlee Compton, Bridge Creek’s art teacher, to bring 3D print technology into the classroom. Our Director of Art & Design, Luther Berry, spoke to the 3rd grade classes about his career in 3D design and the creative processes behind 3D printing. He presented a problem to the students, and explained that he needed their help for a new project.
The ZVerse team presented this challenge for the students: each of the six classes were given a different environment. The students were to work together to create an animal that does not exist, and that could survive in their given habitat. Each class researched their environment and took traits from existing animals to design a new creature.
The students drew a first draft of their creations, and Luther came back to the school to give them some tips. For example, if the student drew the legs of an animal as a thin single line, Luther explained that if he were to 3D print this animal, the thin legs would not support the weight of its body.
This made students think and draw more creatively. Their animal would need to be able to support itself and withstand the conditions of its habitat. Their second drawings were improved tremendously with Luther’s help.
After collecting the final drawings, Luther took the best features of the animals from each class and designed a 3D version of their creature. To the students’ surprise, we 3D printed a full-color model of each class’s animal.
ZVerse returned once again to Bridge Creek to thank the students for their creative help. We asked each class to enter the stage and describe their habitat and the traits that they chose. Then, we surprised the class with their 3D printed animal. The students were amazed that their ideas could be transformed into a physical model. The faculty was impressed at the students’ excitement and participation.
We couldn’t be more pleased with the collaboration that took place at Bridge Creek. Their bright and creative students were passionate about designing something completely new, and they were blown away when they saw their creation come to life.