Educators Use 3D Printing to Bring STEAM Lesson Plans to Life at MakerBot’s Chicago Makeathon


At our third STEAM Makeathon event, educators convened at the Industrial Arts & Design Center in Chicago to create exciting 3D printing projects for their curriculums. In just two days, these teachers, tinkerers, and 3D printing enthusiasts brought STEAM lessons to life with engaging 3D models and prints. Attendees also enjoyed breakout sessions on 3D printing, 3D design, photographing 3D prints, and post-processing 3D prints. With some help from the MakerBot team, they created 3D printing lesson plans that could advance student learning while satisfying standards.

To kick things off, we asked attendees to select an activity or lesson that is already being used in their classrooms. Once they had one in mind, we asked them to enhance it with 3D printing. Over the next two days, attendees created 3D printing projects that they presented to the rest of the group. Then they voted for the lesson plans that they felt were the strongest and most effective.

The Winners

Sphero Water Wars won first place for their lesson plan, “H2 make it gO”. This project meets criteria for the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Math Standards for grades 4 and 5. In this lesson, students must create a vehicle that attaches to the Sphero hat model. The vehicle must transport 100 ml of water through the course, save as much water as possible, and reach the finish line in the least amount of time. This design won each team member a free MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer.


Team Eggbert won second place for their Egg Rescue Challenge. To win this challenge, students must create a 3D printable device that will safely transport an egg from one area to another. They must use engineering concepts to design a solution within prescribed constraints, such as creating 3 or more interlocking pieces that fit within a ziplock bag. This project won each team member an OZObot starter set and a copy of our handbook MakerBot in the Classroom.


You can check out more 3D printing projects for the classroom in our Summer STEAM Makeathon Group on Thingiverse.