How the Heck Do I Use This? – 3D Printers in Social Studies

I’m currently wrapping up a 3 day workshop called Makers and Shakers at the Cincinnati Public Library. In short, this workshop involves the use of a makerspace in education. The Cincinnati Public Library has a great makerspace complete with button makers, 3D printers, recording studio, book publishing machine, UV printer, laser cutter, sewing machines, and a vinyl printer. If you’re like me, you might think, “How the heck do I use these objects in Social Studies?” One item that stood out to me due to its popularity was the 3D printer. Between this workshop, researching ideas, and discussion, I put together some ideas.

A common misconception about makerspaces, especially 3D printers, is they are only related to Science and Math. Boy was I wrong. To begin, I used the 3D printer because I have never seen one in action. I started simple and printed a blue outline of a tennis racquet.  Check out my time lapse video here. All it took was this one experience to get me thinking about the use of a 3D printer in Social Studies. Here is my list of ideas:

  1. research ideas leading to the American Revolution, design a game, use a 3D printer to design and create game pieces
  2. What needs to change with monuments? Research someone who needs a monument. Design, and print a monument for that person.
  3. Design your own coin, symbol, flag for a country,
  4. Who would you add to Mount Rushmore? Research a historical figure and use 3D printer to add that person’s face.
  5. Which invention changed lives the most for Americans? Research, design, and print that invention. Use flipgrid or writing to explain why you chose that invention.
  6. Class timeline – each student prints an object related to time period and arrange chronologically.
  7. Find a broken or destroyed artifact – design what you think it looked like before it broke.
  8. Design (fill in the blank) in the style of Greeks, Romans, Middle Ages, Renaissance, etc…
  9. 3D print 13 colonies so they fit together. – research and explain geography’s impact on the economy and people.
  10. How would you define an event, time period, or decade? Design and print a related artifact. Use flipgrid or writing to describe.
  11. Challenge the students to think of ways to use 3D printing.

What are some ways you can think of using a 3D printer in Social Studies? Use the comment section below to share your ideas…..



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s