3D design and printing can be used in ways that help students connect to their community and understand more about the society they live in. Here are ten of our favourite ideas for using 3D design and printing to promote civics and citizenship.
Imagine a better future
Challenge students to imagine that they are the mayor of their city or town for the day. What changes would they make and why? Who would benefit from these changes? Students use Makers Empire 3D design software to create a model of their proposed changes.
A great activity to help students understand the election process used in their local council, state or nation is to have them experience an authentic voting situation using the same processes used in political elections. Set up an election campaign where students are required to vote for which of their classmate’s design/s will be 3D printed. This could be a great opportunity to model first–past–the–post or preferential vote counts.
Levels of Government
Create a 3D model that explains the different levels of government in the country you live in. For example, you might create a 3D map of Australia showing federal, state and local levels of government.
Citizen of the Year
Imagine you are responsible for deciding who wins the citizen of the year award in your local area, state or nation. What qualities does a good citizen demonstrate? Who will you choose and why? Design the citizen of the year award or trophy in 3D. Make sure the trophy represents some qualities of good citizenship.
What is great about the local community you live in? How can you promote your local area to others and encourage them to visit? Design a welcome statue to be place at the entrance road to your town or city. How can you design the statue so that it communicates the important and special things about where you live?
3D Law Making
How are new laws proposed and passed in your country? Use this new information to propose laws related to 3D printing in your class. Follow up with a 3D design lesson where everyone needs to follow the new laws.
Create a Service
You are responsible for designing and providing a new service in your community. What will the service be? Who will benefit from the new service? Design a 3D model of your new service in action.
How does the government system work in your country? Why is it organised the way it is? How did it begin? What are the historical perspectives? What other government systems influenced the system your country has today? For example, the Australian system of Government is strongly influenced by the British, Westminster system and American systems of Government. Research and design an historical artefact that is relevant to the early days of your country’s government.
Have students explore the concept of democracy by working together in design teams. Teams need to design a 3D model or complete a design challenge where every decision is made democratically as a team.
Invite students to design badges or coats of arms that represent the city or town they live in, using 3D design software. These designs could be printed and worn as badges or medals.