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There is currently significant interest in 3D fabrication in middle school classrooms. At its best 3D printing can be utilized in authentic design projects that integrate math, science, and technology, which facilitate deep learning by students. In essence, students are able to tinker in a virtual world using 3D design software and then tinker in the real world using printed parts. We describe a professional development activity we designed to enable middle school teachers who had taken part in a three- year Math Science Partnership program to authentically integrate 3D printing into design-based lessons. We include some examples of successful design-based lesson plans.

Source Citation

Cairns, D. R. , Curtis, R. , Sierros, K. A. , & Bolyard, J. J. (2018). Taking Professional Development From 2D to 3D: Design-Based Learning, 2D Modeling, and 3D Fabrication for Authentic Standards-Aligned Lesson Plans. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 12(2). Available at:


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