IVY STEM International school in Cairo, Egypt has recently been using Makers Empire with its grades K-3 students. IVY STEM is a partner school of Harmony Public Schools in the USA, which is also using Makers Empire. IVY STEM seeks to create a collaborative learning environment that inspires self-confidence and encourages hands-on experience, independent study, and research projects, all while developing students’ creativity and critical thinking skills. We spoke with Ahmed Samir, STEM Guide and Coach at the school to learn how teachers at IVY STEM are using Makers Empire to enhance learning.
How is IVY STEM using Makers Empire?
We use Makers Empire as a tool to assist us in teaching 3D printing for young students in grades KG, G1, G2, and G3. We used some of the resources available in Makers Empire lesson library to build our first-year curriculum in which students practice 3D design in a form of Project Based Learning environment. One example of a project that students work on is to design a bag tag and keychain. Students also work on designing bird’s nest, street signs, maze, and printed coins. Within the context of each project, students practice integrating more than one subject area in the same project. Students also check to make sure their design is ready to be printed. Our goal is to unleash the students’ creativity and build their collaborations and problem-solving skills that would help them next to involve 3D printing into their semester projects across the other subjects.
What do your students think of Makers Empire?
Our students think that Makers Empire is just AWESOME because they learn how to design in a user friendly, funny, and engaging environment through the Makers Empire software. We have some students who are using Makers Empire at home for more practice and the number is increasing every day!
What have been the benefits of teaching with Makers Empire?
Teaching with Makers Empire helps very much in increasing the level of engagement of students and their interaction with the STEM teacher inside the classroom. It also helps in developing the students’ skills and gives them the chance to be creative and build something they would never expect they can build before!
The (Teacher) Dashboard and software are really cool and we feel comfortable using both of them.
Have there been any challenges?
Using Makers Empire in the beginning was a challenge as students were not familiar with the software environment, but thanks to the basic and pro tutorials inside Makers Empire students could overcome this and became more confident using the software. There is also another challenge that we couldn’t solve yet, which is the number of tokens needed to buy a flat shape and other shapes, but we are still searching for ways to help the students earn more tokens and be able to unlock more shapes.
What advice would you give to teachers who are new to 3D design and 3D printing?
My advice for teachers who are new to 3D design and 3D printing is to be patient as it takes some time to build such design skills with your students. But once they are built you will see results you would never expect to see and you will be learning from your students, too!