August 15, 2016

Lucile Erwin Middle School: Fostering Design Thinking in Education With 3D Printing

Printer SetupEducation is evolving. Increasingly, students have access to a world of information at their fingertips, meaning educators' role in teaching students how to think is more important than ever. At Lucile Erwin Middle School in Loveland, Colorado, USA, educators are using the latest 3D printing technology as a tool to solve problems through rapid prototyping and production.

“Our school is an International Baccalaureate school that focuses a lot on design thinking, and to have the software and the hardware that allows and fosters that design thinking, that creativity, that entrepreneurship piece is 21st century,” Jacob Marshall, a TED instructor at Lucile Erwin Middle School, said. “We are meeting the needs of the students and hopefully the demands in the future.”

LulzBot Mini 3D printers are used in Marshall's design classes to print real-life, functional products that include an ear-bud holder or a prototype for carrying grocery bags. In his MESArc class, students have designed and 3D printed truck parts to create a fully functional remote control car.

The ease of use of the LulzBot Mini desktop 3D printers is appealing for both students and Marshall himself as an educator.

LulzBot Mini“LulzBot 3D printers are so user friendly I don't have to maintain them or monitor them; the kids can be super rough with them and they're durable,” Marshall said. “What I also like about them is that their parts that make up the LulzBot 3D printers are 3D printed, so if something goes down, we have all those files that we can just print out.”

Cura LulzBot Edition is also a user friendly tool, offering a suite of features including hundreds of built in profiles for over thirty materials, easy scaling of objects, optional automated support structures, and more.

The fact that students are engineering their products with LulzBot 3D printers has prompted some to consider a future career in engineering and contributed to the popularity of Marshall's classes.

“You get the overwhelming support for the class and the fight for the class to get in,” Marshall said. “You have a lot of kids who really want to be in here because they know they'll have access to that type of technology.”

With the LulzBot Mini 3D printers being a great value, Marshall encourages other schools to explore that option in the classroom and adopt that technology to give students a more meaningful learning experience.

“If you have an environment where you're going to implement any type of design thinking, any type of prototyping product-driven type class, you've got to get a LulzBot 3D printer,” Marshall said. “It's too easy for you as a teacher, it's too easy for the kids and once they get the training, they just fly with it.”

To learn more about Lucile Erwin Middle School, visit its website. For information about the LulzBot education pricing program, click here.

Photos licensed CC BY-SA 4.0 International © Lucile Erwin Middle School. Video licensed CC BY © Lucile Erwin Middle School.

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