Crafting your Own Manipulatives

The traditional approach to teaching molecular bonding has been through the ball and stick method. With any useful tool or object we use to learn and teach through, we should at least consider reimagining how it can be delivered in a more empathically way. Making learning through real life experiences will engage students, but it will allow for purpose in student academia.
Peter Hennigar saw this as an opportunity to have his student make their own 3D models using Tinkercad. The groups of 3 to 4 students needed to figure out how designing a model that would be 3D printed in class would be applicable to anyone wanting to learn molecular bonding. Once student finally printed their models, they have to craft simple direction for any end user to use and learn from the manipulative models. We caught up with Peter to find out more about the teaching and learning through a 3D printer in Chemistry class.
Looking at the standard and benchmarks why did you feel this was currently the best way students could demonstate their knowledge of covalent and ionic bonding of elements?
Having students create their own models through the design process, pushes students to indirectly learn content and demonstrate their knowledge by applying that information to their design.
Why have students CAD their molecular structures?
Because the focus was on the design process. This allows students to dive deeper into the key characteristics of molecular bonding. 
What types expect student learning results were achieved throughout this process?
Students develop a mastery level of understanding of molecular bonding. This would entail effective communication, critical thinking, visual representation, and large amounts of collaboration with their design teams. 
Why did you feel it was important to have students learn to use CAD demonstrate their learning?
Typically this process has been taught and learned through experiences that are 2D. By having the accessibility of a 3D printer, I was inspired to give myself and students a challenge to make their experience come to life. Thus creating an actual 3D model.
What science standards did you have the students meet?
Describe the build-up of electrons in ‘shells’ and understand the significance of the noble gas electronic structures and of valency electrons


Describe the formation of iconic bonds between elements from Groups I and VII
Describe the formation of ionic bonds between metallic and non-metallic elements

Describe the formation of single covalent bonds in H2, Cl2, H2O, CH4 and HCl as the sharing of pairs of electrons leading to the noble gas configuration.

How does this tie into real world applications that society is exposed to everyday?
Development of a product that is related to content that gives students a purpose behind their learning of Chemistry.
What will you do differently next time?
Scaling of final product of their 3D molecular manipulative structures and set limitation.
How did you use the pedagogical approach to Understanding of Design?
The most important piece to this process is that it gives the students the excuse to indirectly learn the actual content that they then can turn around to apply to create a 3D model. 
A part of the journey of having your students create 3D models, you found the exact same educational product that was being funded to go into production. How did your students feel about this?
They were interested that professional were making and marketing the same type of tools that they were making.
How does this apply in other aspects of curriculum. Function verse Product
Creating 3D models for boards games that recreates pandemics. Mythology Talisman
Creating 3D models that represent a character of a story. This is how G.I. Joe was born.
Creating 3D model models to create tessellation and modular (Art, Math, Science).
Possibility are ends with the intent to focus on design through a 3D modeling.
City X design in Elementary School
Elementary School math manipulative for ratios or fractions
3D printed jewelry for art

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