Building STEAM skills in schools has never been more important. That’s because STEAM education is an emerging pedagogy which helps students learn and succeed in the world as it exists today. STEAM combines art, design, science, technology, engineering and math into one integrated set of problem-solving tools. Rather than teaching each subject separately, STEAM strives to demonstrate, in a hands-on manner, how the best solutions arrive from considering a problem from multiple viewpoints.

Matter and Form was founded and built on the principles of multidisciplinary creative thinking that STEAM encourages, and Matter and Form 3D scanners and projects effortlessly blend the elements of STEAM. Our standards-aligned 3D projects are hands-on, fun, meaningful exercises that give kids direct practice of STEAM skills. Students apply the knowledge from each discipline to become better problem solvers and more confident in their abilities. 3D scanning is an enriching teaching tool that empowers students to learn, practice and master the skills inherent in a design process used in dozens of modern professions.

Incorporating 3D scanning exercises into a school curriculum not only assists in teaching students basic STEAM concepts, but it also sets them up with fundamental skills that they can use throughout their professional lives. Read on to learn about three STEAM skills that students can build through 3D scanning.

1. 3D Scanning Builds Technological Literacy

Building technological literacy is an important skill to prepare students for their future. By incorporating our 3D scanner into school curriculums, students are exposed to a unique skill set that teaches them how to use technology to solve problems while providing them with the technical vocabulary to explain their solutions. 

From start to finish, the 3D scanning design process enables students to participate in hands-on projects in the classroom and learn from this process: 

  1. Students place an object onto the Matter and Form 3D Scanner.
  2. They then use MFStudio software to ensure proper laser detection, good lighting, and that the object has been properly scanned on all sides. 
  3. MFStudio meshes their various scans together in preparation for export.
  4. Using computer software programs like Tinkercad, students can then modify their scans in a variety of ways. These include sizing and scaling to cutting, hollowing and more. 
  5. After this modification process, the project is ready for 3D printing and testing.
  6. Students then test the effectiveness of their scanned object. They repeat the design and testing process until their creation addresses the problem. 

The 3D scanning to printing process is the real-world embodiment of STEAM. By using the 3D scanner to teach lessons across different subjects, students become more comfortable using mathematical, technological and creative processes in different contexts and across a wide variety of fields.

STEAM Skills

2. 3D Scanning Teaches Students how to Solve Problems Using Trial and Error

Another STEAM skill acquired through 3D scanning is the ability to solve problems by embracing trial and error. In traditional school curriculums, students hand in projects and assignments that come to either right or wrong answers. With 3D scanning it’s all about trial, error, analysis, adaptation and execution. Students are able to develop their own ideas, test them and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process. Not only do our 3D scanning projects anticipate a cyclical process of trial and error, but they actually encourage it.

In our Phone Stand Project, students create a customized phone holder from a favourite toy or random object. This lesson teaches students to come up with an optimal design by scanning, modifying and analyzing until it’s right. They must determine the phone’s size and weight, the dimensions of their object, and think of ways to ensure that the phone sits and transmits sound properly. Students use the Matter and Form 3D Scanner and their own creativity to address a unique engineering challenge. Only by seeing how their decisions affect performance and evaluating competing design solutions can students arrive at the optimal model for their specific phone. Solving problems through trial and error is a fundamental skill for any STEAM-based career.

3. 3D Scanning Builds STEAM Skills by Teaching Students to Use Creativity as a Way to Innovate

3D scanning is a learning activity that aims to change how students look at and use everyday objects. By promoting imagination, creation and innovation, the process enables students to create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations. With hands-on projects that incorporate the 3D scanning process, students can see their ideas in action. At every step, this process encourages them to be active creators and problem solvers rather than passive observers. 

In our Coin Bank Project, students put their creativity to the test in order to completely repurpose an object. They are given the task of creating a coin bank out of any item of their choosing. By using their emerging technical, engineering and design skills to develop a working prototype, students explore the relationship between potential and kinetic energy that allows a coin bank to function properly (coins are held above the coin slot, dropped down into the bank, and can be accessed later by removing the plug). 

The goal is for students to consider these design parameters when modelling. This way, they ensure that the relationship between potential and kinetic energy remains intact. They must use engineering, technology, physics and creativity to achieve the desired objective. By using the 3D scanning design process to create their coin banks, students design, modify, print and iterate until they come up with something new and innovative.

STEAM Skills

Matter and Form 3D Scanners Can Build STEAM Skills in Your Classroom

STEAM skills are in high demand and will eventually become standardized amongst future generations of students. Learning these skills at a young age can only better prepare students for the unique demands of the future. Our Coin Bank and Phone Stand projects are just two examples of many that show how the 3D scanning design process can teach students essential STEAM skills such as technological literacy, creativity and problem solving. It’s a process that helps students experience first hand how these different areas of study inform and interact with each other. No matter the age group, the Matter and Form 3D Scanner is the perfect tool to foster confident students with practiced, hands-on skills they can take with them into their future educational and professional endeavours.