7 Fun & Easy Lesson Plans to Jumpstart 3D Printing in Your Classroom

Posted by Jacqui Adams on

Taken from Makerbot

Are you ready to take on a learning journey that keeps students motivated and engaged from start to finish? The MakerBot Learning Team’s got a great collection of 3D printing lesson plans to help get you started. You’ll reinforce complex STEAM concepts with Thingiverse projects that encourage experimentation and innovation. You’ll give your students the freedom to explore, design, and create new things, all in one lesson.

Many Thingiverse lesson plans come with step by step instructions, downloadable activity sheets, photos, and more. You’ll keep them engaged with interactive activities like building bridges, designing artifacts, making 3D-printed games, and more. Read on to check out some lesson plans that are sure to excite the innovators in your classroom.


With the Cutaway Earth Model project, your class can expand on Earth Science concepts by exploring the various layers of the Earth. Elementary school students can reinforce their comprehension of the Earth’s layers by printing and coloring individual 3D printed pieces. They’ll enjoy piecing together its layers to make their own world.

Explore meteorology in the Hurricane Patricia lesson. Grades 3 through 5 will learn to analyze the atmospheric conditions of a storm from the perspective of space. In just seven steps, they’ll useembossify to create physical models of storms from satellite images, and then use those models to order them by their intensity.


There’s a rewarding sense of pride that students feel after they’ve created a complex 3D print. One such project is the K-12 Design Project: Freight Car & Train lesson. All it takes is five classroom sessions for students to create their very own freight cars and trains. They’ll learn to identify and model basic CAD designs, duplicate them, and assemble those designs into larger recognizable structures. Complete with Prezi presentations, worksheets, and step by step guides for each learning session, this lesson plan can be easily integrated into a larger curriculum. The lesson could also be adapted for other grade levels and class sizes by modifying the design or the project complexity. The Freight Car & Train lesson shows students that their ideas are just 3D models and structures waiting to happen.


Empower students by giving them the freedom to engineer and build their own structures. In theBridge Building lesson, students have the chance to design, create, and build bridges. In this lesson, each student must design and print structures that can fit together to make a 25 cm long bridge capable of holding at least 5 kg of mass. Once the 3D pieces are printed, they’ll assemble the pieces and prepare their bridges for weight testing.

As Thingiverse designer 2teacher4u suggests, you might want to ask student to complete a quick report that analyzes and compares their bridge to others in the class. This report will help students look back on the engineering process and talk about what they’ve learned. The Bridge Building Lesson, originally created for third graders, is a simple engineering adventure that can be easily adapted for younger or older students.


Your students have wild, vivid imaginations. With the Snowflake Machine project, your students can create their own unique 3D printed snowflakes. Using Thingiverse’s Customizer app, the snowflake machine uses random numbers, mathematical algorithms, computer code, and more to mirror the way that snowflakes structures are created in real life. This lesson plan comes complete with tips and tricks and demo models to help you get started.

In the Aztec and Mayan Structures lesson, sixth graders design and print an artifact or structure based on Mayan or Aztec aesthetics. To prepare for this lesson, students research the two cultures, and use what they learn to create a design that’s historically accurate. To finish the lesson, students present the function or cultural significance of their print to the class.

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