Vathorst College: Integrating 3D printing in high school education

At Vathorst College in the Netherlands, 3D printing is offered as an elective course to kids that are interested to learn more about this technology. After assembling a 3D printer in-class, the students use it to print out parts of a bottle rocket that is launched with water pressure. This project allows the students to expand their knowledge on science and mathematics with 3D printing as a vital part of the process. Read on to find lesson plans that focus on both a science and mathematical application.

The 3D printed bottle rocket project

Over the course of 4-5 weeks, small groups of students learn to build different parts of an Ultimaker 3D printer and assemble them all together. They later use the 3D printer to design and develop parts for their bottle rocket project. By offering the 3D printing class as an elective course, the students taking part in it are motivated and eager to learn more about 3D printing and design.

The bottle rocket project revolves around designing specific parts of the rocket. The shape of the wings and the sharpness of the nose cone all influence the flight the rocket will make, and thus need to be considered. After designing all the parts, the rocket is assembled and launched. It is a fun and inclusive project, with many opportunities to link it to mathematics and science.

3D printed rocket parts in high school project
“The more the curriculum focuses on technologies or applications that are based on the future, the easier the children will learn.”

The lesson plans

The basic lesson plan written by 3Dkanjers on how to build the bottle rockets can be found here. The standard, predesigned rocket parts can be downloaded here, and can be used as an initial design for the kids to alter and optimise in-class.

In the broader context of this bottle rocket project, there are numerous applications that can be linked to subjects that the kids are attending in school. Here are two examples of exercises that can be done for science and mathematical courses, but these can be expanded to touch different areas in the students’s curriculum as well.

3D printed bottle rocket project

According to Sara Seamari, one of the teachers at Vathorst College, focusing on technologies or applications that are based on the future – like 3D printing – makes it more relatable and easier for the children to learn. This bottle rocket project is but one example of how 3D printing can be integrated in high school education and used to teach both science and mathematics. Visit our Explore pages for more examples on how 3D printing can be used in secondary education:

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