The most exciting time to be a student!

Student 3D Prints the Solar System

Jaydon is a Year 5 student in Surrey (heading into Year 6 now). He is 10. The subject he was studying at the time was Earth and Space. The class were given homework with the theme of space. This theme was carried over 4 weeks, and children were encouraged to do a project each week, choosing from the following: a model, a mobile, a poster, trump cards, a report, a painting or drawing, a poem or baking some cookies. Jaydon had already done trump cards of the planets in a previous week.

As it was a school project we wanted to do something from scratch. We set up a spreadsheet with all of the planet sizes- including the sun. Jaydon was so excited about the capabilities of the spreadsheet too, he learned a lot doing this project. We played with the sizes until we got what would be a reasonable size for the smallest planet- it was at this point that we also decided not to include Pluto because it is so small and no longer classified as a planet anyway.

The scale we arrived at was 500mm diameter for the sun. At this scale the smallest planet Mercury would be 1.75mm.

I was conscious that Jaydon needed to do as much of this himself as possible, but I also knew that he would need some guidance, and that he would learn a lot about these processes in addition to the planets, which made it very worthwhile. I helped a lot with the spreadsheet, but he had already done many of the excellent Tinkercad tutorials, so for that part he was probably more proficient than me. I suggested that he do the base flat so that I started the 3D Print off and it ran overnight. The next day we painted it together. I helped with mixing the colours, but he did most of the painting.

Jaydon then wrote a brief report laying out the steps to complete this model, as we thought that it would be useful for his teacher to understand this. I am not sure how many hours he spent all found, but it went well beyond what is normally expected by the teacher. I think he was just enjoying making so much and wanted to do the best job possible.

I shared this on Tinkercad and Thingiverse, with attribution to the original model which we took inspiration from, and I also shared it on Facebook and Twitter.

So what next? My 6 year old daughter modelled these rings in Tinkercad and did a great job of choosing the colours – next…bracelets, then maybe a tiara or a cycling helmet for her doll :).

My son has optional homework over the summer holiday with the theme World War 2. So he is doing trump cards of WWII planes right now, but if we get time we might try printing something simple. I launched a thread on facebook in the 3d Print groups asking for ideas and got some really interesting ones. But he also deserves some rest, so we’ll see. I’m sure there will be plenty of time in the next year for more 3D Print school projects ? What an exciting time to be a student!

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