Introduction: Spring Kindergarten Class Project With 3D Printer

This instructable describes a simple curriculum for a 1-2 hour craft designed to work well in a classroom full of kindergartners. For this craft the kids will be decorating a flower pot with light-up 3D flowers. Students will hopefully learn a little about batteries, LEDs and 3D printers. Most all of the supplies can be purchased at a Dollar Store.

Example Supply List:

  • 3D Printed Flowers (3D printed and cut swimming noodles): https://www.youmagine.com/designs/light-up-flower
  • Swimming Noodle Flower; 1 noodle easily makes > 50 flowers ($1 at dollar store)
  • Popsicle sticks for Flower Stems (100 colored sticks for $1)
  • Button Cell batteries(3Volt CR2032 or equivalent): http://amzn.com/B0043SAFK0 (50 for ~9$)
  • Standard Sized LEDs (preferably with 1/4 watt resistors but not really required): http://amzn.com/B004UZCMRK (50 for ~6$)
  • Flower "dirt" (we used dollar store play dough) (Pack of 4 for $1)
  • Flower Pot (we used dollar store plant pots but realized later we could have just used the play-doe containers) (Pack of 4 for $1)
  • Decorating supplies (crayons, stickers, markers, etc)
  • Plain Gift bags

Total Cost < $1 per student

For more pictures please visit my Blog:

http://apprenticemaker.blogspot.com/2015/05/showing-off-3d-printer-to-daughters.html

Step 1: Preparing the Flowers

We used two types of flowers for our project; swimming noodle flowers and 3D printed light-up flowers. You could probably do this project without a 3D printer but what is the fun in that? We purchased the flower shaped swimming noodle at the dollar store and cut it using a bread knife.

Printing and assembling the 3D Flowers is by far the most time consuming step for this project. I had to print the flowers over many days and spent an afternoon with my wife and kids assembling them so they would light up.

1. Print

I designed the 3D flowers using OpenSCAD. It is designed to have a place for an LED and slot for a button battery. You can download the design for the flowers from the following website:

https://www.youmagine.com/designs/light-up-flower

There was a total of 21 kids in my daughters Kindergarten class and I decided to let each one have two light up flowers. This required a lot of printing so I put 6 flowers at a time on my Ultimaker 2.

2. Clean

I tried printing the flowers with supports but the supports were difficult to remove. Instead I just printed them without supports such that the LED and battery areas were quite messy due to bridging of the plastic. This is okay since they will be covered anyway. With the help of my kids, we used small screw drivers to scrape out the extra pieces of plastic left over.

3. Attach resistor to LED

Next we attached the provided resistor to the LED by bending the longer wire in half and wrapping one end of the resistor around the bent wire. I bent the short LED wire into a loop for easy insert into the flower battery slot. The above picture shows how the LED and resistor looked before adding it to the flower. Make sure you test the LED with the battery before sticking it into the flower.

4. Insert LED and resistor to flower

First, slide the looped end of the LED into the battery slot and push the LED into the center hole. Using a small screwdriver push the led in as far as it will go and push wrapped resistor wire into the slot provided. For me the resistor would stick up and a 90 degree angle. This slot prevents the wire from touching the Top of the button battery.

5. Add the battery

Last thing to do is fit the battery Top (negative) facing the front of the flower. The battery should slide into the slot with the shore wire loop touching the Top of the battery. You can then touch the Back (positive) side of the battery with the remaining resistor wire and see the flower light up. I recommend storing the flowers unlit to help save battery power.

Step 2: Classroom Stations

We worked with the classroom teacher to set up different stations for the kids. The number of stations is flexible based on the number of students and adult helpers.

(Pot-Making Station)

1. pick a pot and decorate it with stickers

2. pick a tub of play dough and empty the whole thing into the bottom of the pot

(Printed Flower Station)

3. pick two flowers

4. figure out how to touch the wire to the battery and turn on the LED light

5. pick two stickers, and use them to complete the circuit and turn on the flower lights (may require adult help)

6. pick two craft sticks and use them as stems for the flowers

(Foam Flower Station - could also combine flower stations into one)

7. pick two flowers and decorate with stickers

8. pick two craft sticks and use them as stems (this may require adult help)

(Bag Decorating Station - this is optional)

9. Put your name on a craft bag and decorate it

(3D Printer Station)

10. watch the printer print (only interesting for a little while)

11. play with the different printed parts I set out on the table and answer kids questions (can last awhile!)


I hope you enjoy my project. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

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Bio: I love to create and build things with my kids. The instructables website has been a great source of inspiration for finding new and fun ... More »
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