Teaching 3D Printing for Fun and Future Job Skills

Written by: developer

by Elias Molen, Space Foundation Manager - Space Education

Thanks to a grant from the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, the Space Foundation was recently able to present a teacher professional development course on 3D printing, attended by teachers from the Colorado Springs and Pueblo areas.

The teachers learned that while the 3D printing process is fascinating, the real importance is found in providing students practice with 3D modeling. The creation and spatial orientation of a 3D model is a vital skill for many future careers. As the world continues down a path of virtual reality, additive manufacturing and digital design, we need to prepare the next generation for occupations that will continue to grow. Additionally, 3D modeling is another connection for the incorporation of art in science, technology, engineering and math (STEAM).

On March 18, about 40 children and parents came to the Space Foundation Discovery Center in Colorado Springs for our monthly Tesla's Toolbox program. The project that day featured 3D printing. The group was given a tutorial on the history of 3D printing, how 3D printers work and how to produce 3D models at home.

The Space Foundation offers many opportunities for youth to encounter STEAM activities. From Tesla's Toolbox, held the third Saturday of each month, to Explore Space Experience this summer, to structured field trips and hands-on activities in our Discovery Center. We are fullfilling our mission, "to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable, and propel humanity" through current, relevant STEAM education with our local teachers. To find more information about education programming at the Space Foundation, please visit

The next opportunity for teacher professional development at the Space Foundation will be April 15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Teachers will learn new and unique ways to incorporate tablets into the classroom. As technology is now second nature to students, teachers need to adapt and find new ways to keep the instruction relevant while integrating easily available technology. Registration for the workshop was recently opened up to Space Foundation Teacher Liaisons and was filled up in less than 24 hours, demonstrating the need for this kind of teacher professional development. And with Space Foundation financial partners we can help to fill that need. For more information on becoming an education financial partner, please visit

This article is part of Space Watch: April 2017 (Volume: 16, Issue: 4).