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Speedy Architect Project

by MakerBotLearning, published

Speedy Architect Project by MakerBotLearning Aug 18, 2016

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Summary

In this quick project, students will serve as architects working to design new buildings for a client (you!). To ensure the client is satisfied with the buildings, students must make sure that their buildings satisfy the Critical Design Requirements given a set amount of materials and time.

Print Settings

Printer Brand:

MakerBot

Printer:

MakerBot Replicator (5th Generation)

Rafts:

Yes

Supports:

No

Resolution:

0.2mm

Infill:

10%

How I Designed This

The 3D printed parts were designed in Tinkercad. There are 6 pre-made designs included in the Thing Files.
As an extension activity, prompt students to design their own connector pieces to improve their design. See instructions at the end of the lesson.

Standards

Overview and Background

In this quick project, students are given a set amount of materials (connector pieces and straws) and time to create a structure that satisfies the client's critical design requirements.

Lesson Plan and Activity


PART 1: BUILDING 1

Time: 20 minutes
Prompt: Using your materials provided, you need to build the TALLEST possible structure that can stand on its own and remain standing while being measured. The building should satisfy the Critical Design Requirements on the Building Design Requirements sheet

  1. Hand out Design Requirements Sheet - Building 1
  2. (5 minutes) Students Plan & Shop for Materials: 3D Printed connectors, Straws, Scissors
    • During planning, students will “shop” for materials (take the materials they need from the class pile).
    • They can only use what they take, otherwise they will have a small penalty. They will also be penalized for taking too many materials. See grading sheet about excess materials and “re-buying” materials
  3. (15 minutes) Students create Building 1. Some Rules:
    • All towers will be measured at the end of the time limit, but you may have your tower measured multiple times throughout the activity.
    • You can rebuild your tower as much as you want, but you get NO extra materials, and whatever is left at the end of the time period is what will be measured
    • ONLY use the materials you select during Step 2. If you run out of materials, you can get more, but you will have a penalty.
    • Your tower must stand ON ITS OWN and remain standing while being measured - no leaning against the wall, taping to the floor, magic, etc.
    • Give your tower a creative name!

PART 2: BUILDING 2

Time: 20 minutes
Prompt: Using your materials provided, you need to build the STRONGEST possible structure that can withstand 5 lbs of weight for at least 5 seconds. The building should satisfy the Critical Design Requirements on the Building Design Requirements sheet

  1. Hand out Design Requirements Sheet - Building 2
  2. (5 minutes) Students Plan & Shop for Materials: 3D Printed connectors, Straws, Scissors
    • During planning, students will “shop” for materials (take the materials they need from the class pile).
    • They can only use what they take, otherwise they will have a small penalty. They will also be penalized for taking too many materials. See grading sheet about excess materials and “re-buying” materials
  3. (15 minutes) Students create Building 2. Same Rules as Building 1 (above).

PART 3 (OPTIONAL): 3D PRINTED CUSTOM CONNECTOR

Time: 1 - 2 class sessions
If you have more time or would like to add complexity to this project, you can open up a lot of possibilities by having the students design their own 3D printed connector pieces instead of providing them with pre-made parts. Watch the video & read through the steps below for a quick walkthrough on how to do this

  1. Start with a new design or import one of the pre-made STL’s into Tinkercad
    • FYI The pre-made connector pieces were made from cylinders with a 5 mm diameter
  2. To make a new connection point, drag a new cylinder onto the workplane
  3. Resize the cylinder to a 5 mm diameter
    • Drag the Ruler tool onto the workplane to make this easier
  4. Use the arrows to drag your new cylinder into place
    • Use the Align tool to help make this easier
  5. Group your new connector together!
  6. To make even more complex connectors, copy and paste your new cylinder before grouping and add several new connection points.
  7. Once you are finished, select Download for 3D Printing, and choose the STL file format. Import into MakerBot Desktop, and print!
    • Make sure to print with a raft, as there is not much surface area contact with the plate.
  8. Once you get to this point, you can take the project in a lot of different directions. Have students design completely different structures (bridges, complex shapes, marble runs, etc), get creative!

Preparation

  1. Lay out all of the materials beforehand, as the students will be selecting their materials from the class pile.
  2. I did not provide the prompt to the students before this activity, so they all were working with the same time constraints
  3. Group formation - I grouped students into groups of 3 at random

References

Speedy Architect Project

Objectives

Students should walk away with knowledge of:

  • Working to satisfy design requirements
  • Working with tight time constraints
  • Importance of teamwork

Audience

This activity can be used for a wide range of grade levels, anywhere from 6th grade through 12th grade. I used this project as an “ice breaker” on the 2nd day of class for my 8th grade Physical Science course.

Subjects

  • Science
  • Engineering

Skills Learned (Standards)

MS-ETS1-1 - http://www.nextgenscience.org/dci-arrangement/ms-ets1-engineering-design

"Students who demonstrate understanding can define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions."

MS-ETS1-2 - http://www.nextgenscience.org/dci-arrangement/ms-ets1-engineering-design

"Students who demonstrate understanding can evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem"

Extension Activity: MS-ETS1-3 - http://www.nextgenscience.org/dci-arrangement/ms-ets1-engineering-design

"Students who demonstrate understanding can analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success."

Duration

1-2 class periods (3-4 if you want to include the extension activity)

Materials

To prepare for this lesson you will need the following supplies:

  1. Drinking straws (50 per group) - these work great, but are individually wrapped :/
  2. Scissors (1 per group)
  3. Ruler (1 per group)
  4. 3D printed connector pieces (20 - 30 of each type per group) - in Thing Files
    • PRO TIP: If possible, print each connector piece in it's own color
    • Print extras of the Corner Connector file, it’s usually the most popular

Designing a Custom 3D Printed Connector in Tinkercad

Rubric and Assessment:

  1. Rubric - If you want to run this as a graded activity, the grading rubric is attached in the Thing Files.
  2. Reflection Questions - (also included in Student Handout in the Thing Files)
    Submit a TYPED reflection on the building and design of your tower design. This paper should be 8-10 sentences (or more) and should include the following information:
    • A description of your final designs
    • Your initial design/plan
    • How did this initial design change as you built your structures?
    • Did you ever start over?
    • The final height of your Building 1? How much weight could your Building 2 hold?
    • What was the hardest part of building your structures?
    • Anything else you learned while building?
    • The title of your paper should include the name of your design

Handouts & Assets:

Included in the Thing Files:

  1. Student Handout
    • Prompt
    • Rules
    • Homework assignment
  2. Building Design Requirements Sheet
  3. Grading Rubric

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Thanks did you just 3D print the connectors or is there a place on Amazon I can purchase those too. Sorry for the amount of questions but I'm new to this very cool

No problem! Yes you can 3D print all of the pieces included in the Thing Files section (print several of each). If you don't have access to a 3D printer, you can use the Order This Printed button above and have someone print for you through 3DHubs or Print a Thing.

Where can I order the connectors and straws that fit together need pointed to the correct spot I'm new to this sorry

A set for bridge building would be awesome

Agree with Techmech, we've seen a few different people tweak the prompt to build bridges instead of towers, and it works great!

Do you mean connectors for spaghetti instead of straws? This project easily lends itself to bridge building already.

Hey, great project, I am a retired teacher, but still active on my school, helping with 3D projects, this one seems to me very helpfully. I try it first at home with my grandchildren, thank you!!!

Awesome, let us know how it goes!

Hey, great tutorial! Keep them coming!

Thank you! More coming soon.

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