STEM, STEAM, STREAM… How 3D Design and Printing Supports Them All

If you’re wondering how to use 3D design and printing to support your STEM, STEAM or STREAM learning goals, Makers Empire has got your back. Why not try one of the following ideas in your K-8 classroom today?


The real world application of 3D printing in the sciences is perhaps the most revolutionary application of 3D technology. Scientists can print out tissues, organs, and individually designed prosthetics.

This technology needs to have a place in science education. And it can. From young students creating bubble wands and exploring the properties of light to older students creating 3D models of plant and animal cells, 3D printing adds a layer of learning that no other technology can.


Using 3D printing with your students will give them more than just a new technology skill. It positions students as creators and inventors who can solve real-world problems. It teaches students to recognize a problem, empathize with the situation, and devise a solution. One group of 6th-grade students used Makers Empire to solve a real-world problem facing their community. Watch the video here, it’s quite inspiring.


Integrate 3D printing into a reading comprehension or creative writing lesson and watch the ‘wow factor’ of 3D printing engaging even the most reluctant readers and writers.

For example, to assess the student’s comprehension of that book you just read ask them to create a 3D model of an important object from the story. Or in a creative writing lesson, have the students use the 3D printing technology to create an action figure of their main character. One teacher from the Makers Empire community had her students create a 3D model of a monster to support their “I’m not scared” literature unit.


With 3D printing, students can design and engineer anything they can imagine; from model racing cars to replicas of historical buildings. By putting tangible objects that students created themselves into their hands, they have not only learned about engineering, but they have become the engineers!

Giving the K-8 students of today access to the technology that will shape the future of engineering provides them with the tools they will need to succeed.


While 3D printing gives students an almost unlimited ability to create whatever their heart desires; when it comes to improving their learning 3D printing enhances a student’s ability to plan in both 2D and 3D. Teachers often see students skills designing in 2D and 3D develop simultaneously. Creating their drawing in 3 dimensions improves their 2D drawing skills as well as their spatial reasoning. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see their drawing come to life in 3D!?


3D printing allows for visualization of complex math subjects that would otherwise remain abstract. Graphs become 3dimensional, while concepts like area, perimeter, and volume become tangible and sometimes edible! In this Makers Empire lesson, students create 3D printed chocolate molds and then calculate the volume of chocolate that would fit into their molds. The lesson even comes with a built in reward, chocolate!


Jeanette McConnell, Ph.D. is a passionate educator with a strong scientific background. She earned a bachelors degree in biochemistry at San Diego State University and went on to earn a doctoral degree in chemistry at the University of NSW. Throughout her studies, she tutored her fellow students. Her experience presenting science shows and workshops to children convinced her of the value of a hands-on education. She believes Makers Empire is the way to make learning hands on and harness the power of 3D

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