How 3D design and printing inspires learning across the curriculum

We recently caught up with Kim Smith (below), the amazing technology director for St. Ann School in New Jersey and learned about the fantastic ways she is using the Makers Empire 3D Printing Learning Program.

St. Ann School has been using the Makers Empire 3D printing learning program across all grade levels. In this post, we’ll focus on how the elementary level students have benefited from Makers Empire. We highlighted how the 6th-8th-grade students at St. Ann School are using Makers Empire in this earlier post.

Kim didn’t have any previous experience with 3D printing technology, but in September 2016 her school invested in the Makers Empire 3D printing learning program, and they haven’t looked back! Kim graciously walked us through a few examples of the many 3D design and printing projects that she and her fellow teachers have been implementing at St. Ann School.

Kindergarten – Social Studies

Even the youngest learners have been involved with 3D design and printing, where “kindergartners designed flags during the presidential election.” A fun hands-on project to engage students in learning about the United States political system.

3rd Grade – Economics & Writing

3rd graders utilized one of the Makers Empire lesson plans where students are asked to design and market a toy. The lesson plan encourages students to get peer feedback about ideas for making their new toy, sketch the design on paper and finally design the toy in 3D using the Makers Empire Toy Designer module. In this lesson, students learn first hand about economics and engage in creative thinking and writing.

4th Grade – Engineering

St. Ann School is a Catholic school and as a part of their religious studies students were given the challenge to “design their own roundhouse or church.” First students had to draw their building in 2D on graph paper and then convert the 2D design into 3D using the Blocker module in Makers Empire. Converting between 2D and 3D designs enhances students spacial awareness as well as their artistic ability in both 2D and 3D.

5th Grade – Science

When the 5th-grade students were learning about the solar system, they were challenged to take their learning a step further and create their own planet! Using the information they learned about the planets in our own solar system, students were required to write a research paper about the geographical features that would appear on their planet. Then students used Makers Empire to create a 3D topographical map of their planet.

Check out this great video of the students at St. Ann School using Makers Empire:

We definitely think the students at St. Ann School have completed some outstanding 3D design and printing projects! Thanks for sharing Kim!

Are you a teacher using Makers Empire in the classroom? We’d love to share your story! Email us your details to


Try Makers Empire for free!

Start learning 3D design in minutes. Make teaching design and technology fun and effective!