Exploring the use of 3D Computer-Aided Design and 3D Printing for STEAM Learning in Mathematics


This snapshot explores the use of 3D computer-aided design (CAD) and 3D printing for teaching about the volume of solids in junior secondary mathematics classrooms. An open-ended class project involving the design (in a CAD environment), calculation (on paper) and printing of 3D objects (using a 3D printer) was offered to students aged 13 to 15 in three mathematics classes. Qualitative data was collected in the form of video recordings of the students’ communications (while working both with and away from the computers), and in the form of students’ calculations and written reflections (as part of their projects). These observations revealed that the students developed a discourse about volume of composite solids that was inextricably linked to the 3D CAD environment, and that the 3D printing technology enabled an integrated STEAM learning experience for the students. Implications about task design and extensions are discussed in relation to STEAM learning.

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Correspondence to Oi-Lam Ng.

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Ng, OL. Exploring the use of 3D Computer-Aided Design and 3D Printing for STEAM Learning in Mathematics. Digit Exp Math Educ 3, 257–263 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40751-017-0036-x

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  • Computer-aided design (CAD)
  • Steam
  • Stem
  • Tinkercad
  • Volume
  • Project design
  • Computation
  • 3D printing