Our #STEM programming division, Switch, recently visited Meriah Schauss Baker‘s 5th grade class at Pioneer Elementary for some lessons in 3D printing. This was no ordinary 3D printing lesson, but instead a lesson in problem solving.
Mrs. Baker utilized one of her favorite lessons, dissecting the book City of Ember, however this time, with some creative thought partnering, she “switched” it up and had the students utilize #designthinking in order to solve problems from the book.
Keeping a journal the entire time, the teams identified potential problems the city was facing. They then implemented an empathy map for those groups of people in the city that faced those problems in order to design the best solution. Ala Idaho STEM Action Center#IdahoFabSLAM competition, the students worked their way through large scale problems to find unique innovative solutions which could be 3D printed for a final presentation.
From 2D drawings -> 3D modeling in Play-Doh, they were able to make the jump to Tinkercad. To say the students were engaged would be an understatement. Utilizing vital 21st Century Learning skills like, creativity, communication, critical thinking, & collaboration, it was impressive to see their results take shape.
Team solutions varied from better sprinkler systems to keep vegetables growing, to inventive molds that would reuse candle wax in order to aid the forever darkness that embodies the city. Beautiful renditions of hand crank generators & more efficient means of city communication also topped the list. We can’t wait to revisit these classes for their final project presentations!