An elementary school had the opportunity to see science and debate come alive with a 3-D printer addition to their classroom. They were engaged in an important debate, not about politics, but about science.
Students in fourth grade teacher Scott Scholtzhauer’s class were immersed in a problem about adaptation. The hypothetical situation was this: a fish lives today in clear water, with a nearby reef and rapid predators attacking from behind. In 500,o00 years, the environment changed murky water with no reef. The predators attack from above.
Using 3-D software, the students built a fish adapted to the new surroundings. Then they began debating their designs. They had to prove why their fish’s design would survive best in the new environment.
The lesson was intended to teach creativity and collaboration. There was also a bonus, as Professor Bill McConnell of Virginia Wesleyan College partnered with Scholtzhauer and other Chesapeake area teachers on similar lessons. Science was not the only thing students learned. They also learned how to improve on a creation and recognize when an idea needs improvement.