In the SOLID Learning model, a lesson is designed to be folded into standard educational curricula to provide focus and enhancement within traditional learning using 3D Printable objects and tools.
The pilot lesson will include personalized robotics and can be folded into courses addressing electronics, computing, programming, manufacturing, engineering, physics and many other areas beyond just robotics. If the fundamental research into STEM interest development through personalization is shared with the class, then it could also be integrated into any STEM-related subject, along with psychology, sociology, and education courses. When students are involved in creating robots, the same lesson can be integrated into art and design classes, leveraging technology to expand the fine arts as well as scientific topics.
STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – but many educators worry at the lack of Arts, suggesting that STEAM is a better focus for future learners – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.
Educators have identified a number of lessons for SOLID Learning enhancement, across many subject areas:
- Biology – Physiology and morphology comparative anatomical studies as well as no-kill “dissectible” full body objects could be generated including complex color-coded organs and structures for study and review without requiring hazardous and unpleasant preservatives.
- Anthropology – Replicas of artifacts, remains and structures complete with full-color renderings of early art such as cave drawings would aid in the understanding of early peoples.
- Archaeology – Replicas of fossils and fossilized remains can be used for direct study, as well as planning and practice for extraction and excavation. Very small structures can also be scaled up to allow easier study and examination. Digitized marine archaeological surveys of artifacts, wrecks and debris fields could aid in the study of inaccessible locations as well as in planning for recovery operations.
- History and Cultural – Artifacts and technologies affecting earlier cultures such as early hunting enhancements (Clovis points, the Atlatl) or cultivating tools (mortal and pestle, amphorae pottery storage) allow comparison of hunter/gatherer cultures and the evolution of civilization. Examples of transportation technologies and shipbuilding illustrate the evolution from geolocal to regional to global cultures using examples and technologies for storing food and goods and navigational aids).
- Agricultural Science – Comparative plant anatomy and morphology, examples of different forms of pant and leaf structures (pinnate vs. palmate vs. monocot venous designs) and propagation strategies (flowers, seeds, burrs, cones) would enhance learning beyond flat representations in current textbooks.
- Architecture – Examples of architectural style (Persian Sassanid vs. European Gothic) and structural innovations (Arch, flying buttresses) and aesthetic studies (post-modernism vs. expressionism) would allow learners to interact with physical representations of key concepts, while student-designed creations would allow direct physical expression of creativity when printed to solid form. Military studies involving reinforced structures and defensive architecture can be used in cultural and sociological studies (Native American societies in the Algonquin tribes, class-based societies of medieval European castles, development of early trade along defensible routes).
- Psychology – Representations of physiological characteristics associated with developmental disorders would aid in developing assessment skills and improve identification in student populations for appropriate learning accommodations. Evocative works and designs also provide both artistic and psychological studies in response and perception.
- Mathematics – Examples of conical sections (parabola, hyperbola, circle and ellipse) and regular polyhedral allow direct measurement of Cartesian coordinates, symmetry, and stellations aligned with regular mathematical formulae. Physical representations of Möbius and Klein topologies facilitate an understanding of non-aligned manifolds, while Fractal structural representations illustrate the alignment between math and the natural world.
- Engineering – Functional examples of mechanical linkages and mechanisms allow the exploration of applied mechanics, dynamics and kinematics from both mathematical and practical engineering perspectives. Examples can be used to enhance language studies through an understanding of the culture made possible by innovations (aqueducts, stone mills and Archimedes’ screw), while the 3D printing process itself can be used to identify materials science studies in polymer manufacturing and vector mathematical operations in (x,y,z) coordinate systems.
- Physics – Objects expressing different characteristics such as density and displacement using complex interior geometries will allow studies of basic physical properties, while 3D printable equipment can allow greater learner experimental involvement (frictionless sleds using a common vacuum cleaner, timing gates using Arduino circuits and apparatus for testing ballistic trajectories and gravitational attraction). Even complex structures could be reproduced to facilitate studies in electrolysis and sustainable energy, which would extend into many interdisciplinary areas.
- Aerospace– Historical examples of designs for human flight, functional designs for fixed-wing and rotary aircraft, and structural models for various types of lifting surfaces can allow for direct exploration into atmospheric flight while models of extra-atmospheric designs can facilitate studies into space sciences and extra-planetary exploration. Printable wind tunnels that can use common 120mm computer case fans and test assemblies can allow students to test wind shape designs and their own innovation experiments.
More lessons will be identified as the SOLID Learning model is explored. Using open-source hardware, electronics and designs these become available to any school any where in the world. Because the basic system for 3D manufacturing can be printed out, teachers have asked for instructor-focused lessons in creating new 3d printers, programming the Arduino and other developmental aspects of SOLID Learning that will allow instructors and schools to develop their own personalized lessons and designs.
Main SOLID Learning Post: http://www.stemulate.org/2012/05/05/solid-learning/