This image shows a person writing on a graphic organizer titled "What is 3D Printing?" The text reads, "3D Printing Lesson and Activities."

Your First 3D Printing Lesson Plan

Are you a middle school teacher looking to incorporate 3D printing into your curriculum? This 3D printing lesson plan is designed to introduce your students to the exciting world of additive manufacturing. From understanding the basics of 3D printing to discovering the printer parts and functions, your students will be engaged and excited to learn. Get ready to bring the future of manufacturing into your classroom!

Short on time? Grab this no-prep introduction to 3D printing!

This image shows a hand filling in a graphic organizer titled "What is 3D printing?" The text reads, "3D Printing Lesson and Activities."

What are the benefits of 3D printing for kids?

3D printing offers numerous benefits for kids. They can bring their ideas to life and develop their creativity and problem-solving skills. Just imagine the thrill your students will experience as they transform their brilliant ideas into tangible objects right before their eyes. 

3D printing in the classroom also allows students to explore STEM concepts in a hands-on way and can even lead to exciting future career opportunities in fields such as engineering and design. 3D printing is a valuable tool for inspiring and empowering young learners.

Explore misconceptions about 3D printing

This 3D printing lesson starts out by having students examine common misconceptions about 3D printers and the field of additive manufacturing. Students share how much they agree or disagree with the provided statements in an interactive whole class discussion.

This helps you gauge your students’ prior knowledge of and baseline interest in 3D printing. Some may think it’s a magical process that can create anything instantly, while others may believe it’s too complicated for them to understand. The class discussion helps you identify where you may need to target and clarify student misconceptions throughout the lesson.

This image shows a graphic organizer titled "What is 3D Printing?" There is a hand writing on the worksheet.

Learn about the history of 3D printing and present day uses

Next, students conduct research in an independent webquest activity. The graphic organizer provides students with a list of questions to research, along with suggested websites to visit, and space to record their findings.

They use the provided websites to discover the history of 3D printing and interesting modern day uses. This activity helps students develop an understanding of the wide reaching impacts of additive manufacturing and its importance in our everyday lives.

Discover 3D printer parts and functions

Next, students continue their research by defining common terms in 3D printing and learn about printer parts and their functions. Students learn the difference between traditional manufacturing and 3D printing. They discover the purpose of a printer’s frame, print bed, extruder, and filament. 

This image shows a cut and paste worksheet titled "What is 3D Printing?" Vocabulary words such as filament, extruder, and 3D printer are cut out and matched with the definitions.

Practice 3D printing vocabulary

Finally, students apply their new knowledge about 3D printers to complete a matching activity. They’ll cut out the 3D printing terms, such as “additive manufacturing,” “extruder,” and “filament,”  and match the terms to the correct definitions. This check for understanding will help you identify any misunderstandings and provide students with timely feedback.

How to use this 3D printing lesson plan in your classroom

  • Use the lesson at the beginning of your 3D printing unit to introduce concepts to your middle school students.
  • Leave the lesson as a STEM sub plan.
  • Assign the resource to early finishers.
  • Learn about 3D printing for National STEM Day in November or Global Maker Day in October
  • Use the resource as extra credit, a holiday break packet, or an extension activity.
Show me the resource!

Looking for more support teaching the basics of 3D printing?

Introducing middle school students to the basics of 3D printing can be tricky! This complete unit will engage and amaze your students as they learn the fundamentals of additive manufacturing. The bundle includes over 100 pages of resources. Use them individually where they fit best within your course or taught in sequence as a 5-week 3D printing unit. 

This image shows a document titled "Unit Plan: 3D Printing and CAD." The text reads "3D Printing: Over 100 pages, printable and digital."

Grab these exciting lessons and activities today to get back your nights and weekends while knowing your students will be engaged in learning the basics of 3D printing!

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