I realized that 3D printing is great for teaching spacial reasoning skills to students but how? I though one of the major concepts that can be taught in math is perimeter and area. It's easy to create and measure with a small object and if students make the design and print it themselves it will greatly increase the chances of them learning the actual concept not just how to calculate it.
You can use a raft but it's a waste of filament. I recommend using a bigger nozzle if you can as it will reduce your print times drastically. You may need supports if some part of the castle is hanging over but I told my students to make sure everything was build from the ground up.
Basic process and design
I had my students use minecraft to design their castles and then exported them using Mineways to print them on our 3d printers. As far as using minecraft to design it I downloaded a map from the minecraftedu library that allowed my students to teleport into their own workspace so that no one can enter but them.
For the castle I would make sure they used at least 7-10 blocks for the height of the castle walls and two blocks deep and two blocks wide for the moat. This will help when you print it out. I also made them create rooms inside the castle and taught them about birds eye view and basic blueprint design principal. I went over and the typical aspects of castles and the purpose of a moat before hand. This is where the perimeter concept ties in. I then had them research minecraft castles with moas for inspiration. The area concept ties in when you get the area of the castle. Advanced concepts would include volume of castle and exact area if their castle isn't a perfect square or rectangle. The unit of measure is any label you choose, inches feet etc, since minecraft is a block system it works very well. I found that my students were really interested in this lesson because they got to take the castle home.
Assuming this will happen in a classroom students will learn the conceptual foundation to understand perimeter and area. The learning begins with basic design principals applied in minecraft using a medieval theme. Castles had moats for a reason which is a great way to teach perimeter. Area soon follows with the inside castle area being compared to the area including the moat and a discussion as to why they are different. Once printed students can make a real connection with the difference between perimeter and area.
Understand the difference between perimeter and area.
Skills Learned (Standards)
Standard 3.MD.8: Solve real world problems involving perimeters of polygons, including finding the perimeter given the side lengths and finding an unknown side length, and exhibiting rectangles with the same perimeter and different areas or with the same area and different perimeters and asks students to solve for perimeter using real-world problems.
Measurement And Data
Solve Problems Involving Measurement And Conversion Of Measurements From A Larger Unit To A Smaller Unit.
Apply the area and perimeter formulas for rectangles in real world and mathematical problems. For example, find the width of a rectangular room given the area of the flooring and the length, by viewing the area formula as a multiplication equation with an unknown factor.
Grade 5 is a bit tougher but still doable.
Grade 5 Module 5: Addition and Multiplication with Volume and Area
In this 25-day module, students work with two- and three-dimensional figures. Volume is introduced to students through concrete exploration of cubic units and culminates with the development of the volume formula for right rectangular prisms. The second half of the module turns to extending students’ understanding of two-dimensional figures. Students combine prior knowledge of area with newly acquired knowledge of fraction multiplication to determine the area of rectangular figures with fractional side lengths. They then engage in hands-on construction of two-dimensional shapes, developing a foundation for classifying the shapes by reasoning about their attributes. This module fills a gap between Grade 4’s work with two-dimensional figures and Grade 6’s work with volume and area.
It take about 5-7 1-period classes for most students to finish their castles. It can take a bit to print them out depending on how many printers you have and what nozzle diameter you use to print it. Expect to go through a few roll of PLA. I wouldn't use ABS unless you can absolutely make the print stick. Some of these castles can take 4-5 hours to print with a .4mm nozzle.
Begin with MinecraftEdu if you can. It's about $500 for a server license and 32 workstation licenses. If you can do that then just get the regular minecraft license.
Next download mineways. It's free and pretty easy to use after watching a five minute youtube video.
Now go over the basics of castles and moats with a focus on why there was a moat to begin with. Now connect that with the concept of perimeter. Using real world concepts with academic vocabulary to introduce profound understanding.
Review their minecraft design and make sure the walls are tall enough and the moat is deep enough to come out when you print them.
Download the minecraft map using mineways and save it as an stl.
Print out the design and have your student label it and paint it to look like a castle.
- Teach your students that minecraft is a block system and each block counts as one. You can choose whatever unit of measure you want but I would start with "block." Have them say my castle has a perimeter of "X" blocks. This allows them to understand the concept. Later you can have them measure other objects and introduce units of measure after they understand the concept.
5-7 class periods
Students should know about minecraft and how to use it or expect to do some lessons on using it. Youtube is great for that. If their not accustomed to using a keyboard and mouse give them time to practice.
My only assessment was that they could label their castle with the correct perimeter and area.
how to use it:
youtube link on minecraft: