3D pens take learning to a new dimension

Students in Emily Lehne’s sixth grade science class have been charged with the task of building structures to demonstrate motion. To do so, the Beacon Middle School students are using technology not many have heard of: a 3D pen.

The technology is similar to a 3D printer, but on a much smaller and handheld scale.

Lehne wrote a grant to get two pens, which she received in December. By the end of January, the school had bought a dozen more for the students to use.

The pens allow the students to create something tangible to show how a concept works.

3d pens

“Every single kid was actively engaged and is participating which, when it comes to middle school students, can sometimes be a challenge in itself,” Lehne says.

To use the pen, one must insert a strand of plastic filament into the unit, which heats it up. The user then controls how quickly the plastic is dispersed. The pen can be used on paper and the user can then take what’s drawn off it.

As Riley Neall and Hanna Kozach were trying to build a house for the person Zoe Robinson and Keandra Dunning were creating, they were able to use the pen to build up the base of the structure. Then they welded a green roof they had already created on top.

Neall thinks more classrooms ought to have the technology.

“This is something to make learning fun,” he says.

Other students used the 3D pens to create an airplane and the Eiffel Tower, a car and a stoplight and a shark and a piece of coral. After creating the objects, the students will explain the motion theories by using what they’ve created.

“It gets them demonstrating their knowledge they need to know but in an interesting and unique way,” Lehne says.
“(It) keeps them creative and gives them a chance to express themselves.”

By Jon Bleiweis for www.delmarvanow.com

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