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3D Printed Entomology: Imagining, Designing, and Printing Classroom Insects #STEM #science #education #3DThursday #3DPrinting #3DScanning

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Educator Clark Barnett posted about an early project he created for his 4th grade classroom — working with the students to imagine, design, and 3D print insects that would be suited to the natural ecosystem of the classroom. Make sure to visit his site to see the write prompts and other course materials that guided this fantastic class project:

When I first got the 3D printer my mind swam with different ideas of how to use it in my classroom. …As I spoke with other educators and started thinking about my curriculum, the little idea of looking at bugs quickly became the project I was most excited about. I realized that it fit with our 4th grade science and language arts standards, it made great use of other technology tools that we have, and it was full of room for creative students to work.

…they were instructed to draw a picture and label the different parts of an insect. Students were pointed to entomology websites, and some brought in real insects to observe. This helped them  to properly label their insects.

Once their insect existed in their minds and in their journals, they started creating them on an iPad using an app called 123D Creature. While they were creating their insects they were also writing a description of the “Room 30” ecosystem in which the insects were discovered.

…As the students finished sculpting their insects they uploaded them to a shared account on Then we downloaded the insects to a computer connected to the 3D printer and started printing them.

The first insect printed. It’s natural habitat is inside the class printer [see below!]….

Read the full account, including writing prompts and other documentation here.

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Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!

Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!

The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! We also offer the LulzBot TAZ – Open source 3D Printer and the Printrbot Simple Metal 3D Printer in our store. If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the shout out! I hope you enjoy the project as much as I did!

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