Global Encounter: 3D printing to help save wildlife
Related Subjects:
Biology , English / Language Arts , Environmental Science , Environmental Studies , Global Studies , Mathematics
Social Issue:
Target Grade Level(s):
Grade / Year 10 , Grade / Year 11 , Grade / Year 12 , Grade / Year 4 , Grade / Year 5 , Grade / Year 6 , Grade / Year 7 , Grade / Year 8 , Grade / Year 9

What social issue will your video conference address?

A few months back, I was reading an article where an engineer helped an injured bald eagle by designing a 3D printed beak. The people who had been trying to heal the eagle  were told that the eagle would probably have to be put down. After  taking x-rays of the eagles head, this engineer was able to 3D print a new beak for this bald eagle and he saved his life. Also, 3D printing has also helped Buttercup the duck recover from a foot that had to be amputated, how amazing!

I thought it would be amazing to design a Global Encounter where students could help these engineers and wild life preserves/rescues! They would be speaking to people who work with injured wild life and engineers, where they can communicate, share ideas, and potentially help create a 3D printing design of something that could potentially save an animals life.

Most people have no idea what a 3D printer is and what it does. I know that I had no idea what it was until learning about it last semester; my students can inform nature preserves and other wild life rescues about 3D printing.

What subject(s) and grade level(s) would be appropriate for students to be involved?

I would think that this project would be appropriate for grades 4 and older. Depending on how young the students are would determine how involved and complex the project should be. I would involve this project in ELA where there would be a big emphasis on learning how to "do your research." I can see how math can be incorporated into this project, (maybe more for high school students) such as figuring out measurements of how big something may need to be (such as the eagles beak or the ducks foot). Lastly, science would be incorporated, because students will be learning about wildlife animals and their environments.

Who would be your ideal guest speaker?

My ideal speaker would definitely have to be Nate Calvin, who was the engineer who recreated the bald eagles injured beak; he is the founder of the Kinetic Engineering Group. (Via Skype)

Also, Melissa Ragsdale, president of NovaCopy, for reconstructing a new authentic foot for Buttercup the duck. (Via Skype)

Would you seek to involve other schools from your community, across the country, or from particular countries or regions around the world to foster the ideal conversation?

For just starting this project, I would like to keep the project small, with just my class. I would like to see how the project would run first (if it even would work) and then expand from there.

Eventually, I would love to expand my PLN and find other educators who are interested in the same project that I am. Our students can be assigned to the same "jobs" where they can collaborate and share their ideas, thoughts and findings via Skype.  This way, I can involve classes from all over the world and United Sates to help wild life preserves and rescues save animals!

What type of activity would students complete before the video conference session that they could share during the conference?

Research! Depending on how many students there are, I would separate students into different "jobs." One job would be to research more information on 3D printing, another job would be to research rescues and preserves that are reaching out to the community for help to save an animal, another job would find a relating company that could help the wildlife preserve/rescue recreate a 3D item and get contact information, another job would be researching ways to help the company recreate a new body part.

Would there be a follow-up action that students would take to deepen their learning?

I would have students research other ways they can help animals through the use of a 3D printer. Students will use various search engines, such as Google to find other animals who may need our help. This may be marine life, farm animals and other wildlife preserves/rescues.

How would you assess their participation?

I would access their participation by giving the students a clipboard of different "jobs" that they have to research. Students will save their information on their own Google Doc. An assessment of participation will be determined based on how many resources they used and how much information was saved onto their Google Doc. On the next day, students who have the same "job" can collaborate and share their findings.  


3D Printer Helps Lame Duck: By Brooke Kaelin, June 21, 2013

Beauty the Bald Eagle Gets a New 3D Printed Beak: By Brooke Kaelin, July 14, 2013