STEAM lesson plans

Two STEAM Lesson Plans That Use 3D Scanning: Containers & Chess Pieces

By Matter and Form on March 3rd, 2020

The STEAM movement is a new way to incorporate science, technology, engineering, arts and math into an integrated subject that prioritizes hands-on learning, complex problem solving, trial and error and real-world applications of knowledge. STEAM combines these once-siloed subjects into a cutting-edge curriculum that will help students learn and succeed in the world as it exists today and that will prepare them for new challenges.

And while STEM and STEAM movements are gaining momentum, it’s difficult for many educators to find practical ways to implement these pedagogies into the classroom when the current education system often remains outdated. That’s where Matter and Form comes in.

We’ve created STEAM lesson plans that help teachers and educators solve STEAM in their classrooms. Our standards-aligned, step-by-step projects provide guided access to the real 3D tools used every day in dozens of modern professions.

Read on to learn about two of our many classroom-ready STEAM lesson plans that you can try out with your students today!

Matter and Form STEAM Projects and Lesson Plans

Each of our lesson plans was created with a specific purpose in mind: to make STEAM learning a tangible reality in classrooms everywhere. Whether it’s building technological literacy skills, or teaching students how to use creativity as a way to innovate, our lesson plans are unique, informative and empower students to learn, practice and master skills inherent in the 3D design process.

Matter and Form STEAM projects are designed for middle and high school classrooms. Plus, each lesson plan is adaptable based on the skillset of your students and their prior experience with 3D scanning and modelling. This way, advanced students can plan more intricate designs that require higher attention to detail. Conversely, novice students can stick with more basic designs until they are ready to progress to the next level.

You can purchase our STEAM projects and lesson plans as add-ons to our V2 3D scanner. The 3D Education Package includes the projects, a two-year extended scanner warranty and priority email educator support.

STEAM Project #1: Make a Container

Ideal For Grades 6-8

What is it?

In this project, students will learn about companies or individuals that have used technology to reinvent an existing product into something new and innovative for people to use. Knowing this, students will then choose an object or figure of their preference and modify it into a usable container. 

What are the goals?

Students will:

1. Consider design parameters, including measurements of the size of the hole used in the container

2. Apply technical knowledge to analyze designs prior to printing

3. Evaluate the work of others, and state utility of prototypes

The 3D Scanning Process with the Make a Container Lesson Plan:

1. Students place any object of their preference on the Matter and Form 3D Scanner to turn into a container.

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 Tinkercad, students scale the model large enough that a hand can reach into the container to take its contents out. 

5. Students then make the scan hollow by duplicating it, scaling the duplicate smaller, setting it to “hole,” and placing it within the original model. 

6. Next, students cut an opening on the top of the model big enough for a hand to enter.

7. The object is now ready for printing, testing and iterating if needed!

How Does This 3D Scanning Activity Solve STEAM?

Matter and Form’s Make a Container lesson plan solves for STEAM by giving students the opportunity to participate in hands-on learning that applies a variety of different skills into one project. In this lesson plan, students explore their technology, design and engineering skills by taking an existing object, scanning, printing, modifying and testing it for people to use. 

This lesson plan teaches students the real-world embodiment of STEAM where individuals can use technology to reinvent, recreate and modernize old objects for a new use.

STEAM Project #2: Design a Chess Set

Ideal For Grades 6-12

What is it?

In our Design a Chess Set lesson plan students will learn about the history of chess pieces and the game’s relevance. While chess is a practical game, this project gives students the chance to embrace their creativity and innovation by designing their own chess pieces suitable for play. 

What are the goals?

Students will:

  • Explore the history of chess and its pieces.
  • Consider design parameters, including determining the sizes of different chess pieces when creating the prototype.
  • Apply technical knowledge to analyze designs prior to printing.
  • Evaluate the work of others, and state utility of prototypes.
STEAM Lesson Plans

The 3D Scanning Process with the Design a Chess Set Lesson Plan:

1. Students design and plan their chess set while considering size, practicality and unification.

2. Using clay, students will form models of their chess pieces.

3. Then, using the Matter and Form 3D Scanner, students will place each clay model on the scanner to be scanned one piece at a time.

4. They then use MFStudio software to ensure proper laser detection, good lighting and that each object has been properly scanned on all sides.

5. After exporting the scans to Tinkercad, students will flatten the base of each model, scale them relative to each other, while deciding which pieces will represent the different chess pieces. 

6. Print one of each king and queen chess piece, two knights, bishops and rooks and eight pawns.

7. The models are now ready testing and iterating if needed. 

How Does This 3D Scanning Activity Solve STEAM?

This 3D scanning activity solves STEAM by giving students the opportunity to learn, critique and actively engage with history in a new and creative fashion. The Design a Chess Set lesson plan was designed to teach students about the history of the game of chess, the significance of each piece and design parameters of a timeless board game of chess in a hands-on, creative and fun way.

Learn More About Matter and Form STEAM Projects and 3D Scanning

Our 3D scanners and projects combine art and design thinking with tools of measurement. Designed with student users in mind, the Matter and Form 3D scanner and STEAM projects are fun, meaningful, flexible, standards-aligned and hands-on. Students use our projects to design, modify, print and iterate to create prototypes. Consequently, they learn to solve problems, use trial and error and develop problem-solving skills.

The 3D Scanning Process Can:

  • Engrain the value of trial and error, problem-solving and iterative testing to develop confidence
  • Help students understand how to harness their creativity and innovate using technology
  • Teach students how design affects the function of an object
  • Help to build technological literacy and understanding
  • Build hands-on technical skills 


Read More About 3D Scanning and STEAM on Our Blog:

  1. 5 Ways 3D Scanning is Transforming Education for Both Teachers and Students
  2. 6 Ways Teachers are Improving STEM Education with 3D Scanning and Printing
  3. 5 Ways 3D Scanning and Printing are Changing Arts Education