Top 10 3D Design Lesson Ideas for Grade 8

Makers Empire’s 3D: Schools is especially designed to give K-8 students engaging tools to use in a range of curriculum-aligned design and problem solving tasks. Here are 10 of our favourite design challenges for 8th Grade students using Makers Empire 3D printing software.

1. Everybody loves a good paper plane challenge! How about adding an extra element to the challenge by asking students to make paper planes that can carry a 3D printed passenger over as far a distance as possible. By including these two components (the plane and the passenger) in this challenge, students need to think about how each component effects the other and the variables that need to be considered such as weight, aerodynamics and balance.

2. Ask students to design and 3D print the trophies or awards for a school event such as Sports Day or Awards Night. Students need to design trophies that will stand by themselves and represent the particular achievements they are being awarded for.

3. Engage students in designing a community art installation where they all contribute a smaller part of a whole artwork. One school we know had each student design a cube that represented something about their school’s history and culture. These were then used to build a wall sculpture to commemorate the school’s 40-year anniversary.

4. Incorporate 3D-printing with a robotics challenge by asking students to design and 3D print particular elements of the robots they are building and programming.

5. Challenge students to design a 3D model that demonstrates a particular scientific concept such as rock formations. The student’s models could show the differences between sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks or the processes that form them.

6. An 8th Grade mathematics teacher we know, uses the 3D design environment to challenge students to solve geometric problems such as ‘come up with a definition of congruence using transformations of plane shapes.’

7. Ask students to evaluate the controller of their favourite game console. What works well and what doesn’t? Students are now challenged to design an improved game controller that they would enjoy using.

8. A popular 3D printing design challenge going around at the moment is the Pringle chip challenge. Students design a container big enough to carry a chip. These containers are then exchanged by post with students from another school. Whose chips will arrive without being crushed or broken?

9. We have seen an 8th Grade geography class who were asked to make a 3-dimensional map of an area they were studying. Great for showing mountains, valleys and other topography.

10. We know 8th grade students who were asked to design and 3D print a question dice that they then used for reviewing the novels they were reading in their individual reading assignments. The students had to decide on a question starter for each face of the dice such as: Who was? When did? Why did? Students then took in turns rolling the dice, asking questions and formulating responses about their novels.

Makers Empire’s Lesson Ideas are free, quick and easy ideas to get you started with 3D design and printing. We hope you enjoyed this post.


Mandi Dimitriadis, DipT. is an experienced classroom teacher who recognises the power of technology to enhance teaching and improve educational outcomes. Mandi has extensive experience with curriculum development and learning, having previously developed programs for the Australian Government’s Department of Education. She is passionate about Design Thinking and how best to prepare today’s students for the future.

Makers Empire helps K-8 teachers teach Design Thinking, STEM and 21st-century learning skills using 3D printing. Our pioneering 3D solutions for schools include 3D modelling software, over 150 lesson plans aligned with international standards and professional development. With Makers Empire, engaged students learn how to solve real-world problems and make their world better.

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