3D-printed Educational Models in the Geosciences

Monday 1:30pm-4:00pm Tate 301-20
Afternoon Mini Workshop


Sinan Akciz, California State University-Fullerton

3D spatial visualization is extremely important to students pursuing an education in STEM, especially those that pursue coursework in the geosciences. As instructors, we always wish for additional resources to help with our instruction, but typically end up utilizing digital resources. The recent widespread accessibility of 3D printing now provides an opportunity for geoscience educators to produce their own affordable, high-quality block models that students can hold and manipulate in their hands. Participants in this mini-workshop will first be introduced to the world of single- and dual-extrusion 3D-printing, as well as instructional designing considerations. Small groups of participants will then design 3D-printable instructional models for use in an earth science class of their choice and discuss plans for integrating it into their own teaching.


By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Know the basics of single-extrusion and dual-extrusion 3D printing works
  • Explore different 3D printed models designed for Physical Geology Lab and Field Techniques courses
  • Have developed an understanding of what it would take to incorporate 3D printed models into their teaching


1:30 Welcome and introductions

1:40 Overview of non-digital teaching materials that help foster spatial thinking skills in the geoscience courses

1:55 Demonstration of different 3D printed models. Discuss design considerations.

2:20 Break

2:35 Discuss implementation considerations

2:45 Work time: Participants (working as individuals or as pairs) begin drafting design ideas for new 3D-printable curricular materials that can get incorporated into their current courses. Participants should also develop an implementation strategy.

3:25 Mini presentations and group discussion.

3:45 Wrap-up and fill out workshop evaluation

4:00 Adjourn