Thingiverse images by JohnA, CodeCreations, and Cibonacci
Thingiverse images by JohnA, CodeCreations, and Cibonacci

Jesus Huerta -  Sixth-Grade Teacher | Calexico Unified School District
Jesus Huerta is the CUE Director of STEAM for Imperial Valley, and a sixth-grade teacher at Calexico Unified School District.

Engaging Students in Literature and 3D Design

Want an awesome way to encourage reading but also mix in design thinking, 3d design skills and an introduction to empathy? Let’s take a look at how students can find and print some really cool bookmarks but then we can take it even further by showing them they can design their own!

Finding some really creative bookmarks

If you are new to 3d printing, just getting started or are a seasoned veteran, then you have already heard that you can create anything you can imagine with a 3d printer. Let’s take a look at one of favorite sites to find free designs to print and modify! Watch the video below to take a quick tour and also see how to download the files we will be using later!

Morphing Existing Designs into Unique Creations

Once you've mastered the basics of printing a model from an existing STL file, you can start to combine, subtract, rotate, and stretch models into something completely new. Watch the video below to see how to use the base of the starting bookmark model and the top of a brand new model to see how students can create their own custom bookmarks in a few simple steps. 

Why do this project?

There are many positives that will come from having kids do this project! Firstly, if students receive a random bookmark from you, it will build upon the positive culture in your classroom. 

Additionally, this “gift” will have a double meaning, as it will positively reinforce the importance of reading -- students will want to put their new bookmark to use inside of a book. Letting them create and customize their own designs and allowing them to choose fun, colorful materials helps to give them a sense of ownership and pride of their 3D printed creation.

Lastly, by having kids create their own 3D prints, you will hit upon the previous points and then add more by inviting students to be creative. This will empower your students, especially for those that may struggle academically and excel with design.