Early animations

Students spent the first couple of weeks in February learning how to animate within Illustrator. They studied five of the animation principles: Squash/Stretch, Timing/Spacing, Slow-out/Slow-in, Follow Through/Overlapping Action, Anticipation.

Here are a few great examples from students, after just 3 days of animating in Illustrator.


3D printing in the classroom

Thanks to Makerbot and generous donors through DonorsChoose, my classroom received a Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer in December. After some testing of the preloaded STL files, we started tinkering the following semester for the multimedia class.

Unfortunately, through the excitement of tinkering and problem solving, I didn’t capture many images or videos of what the students created. I did get a few, so I’ll share below what we did this semester with the 3D printer.


Using their knowledge of the uses of Pi, students were to create a game to celebrate Pi Day on March 14. They were required to incorporate interactive animation with Flash, various Pi calculations or applications, determine probability within the game, create a gameboard with their graphics knowledge, and 3D print game pieces they designed in 3Dtin. Students partnered with Jason Douma from the University of Sioux Falls to learn about game theory and probability.

Dr. Who game with 3D printed TARDIS and Daleks

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Trophies created for winners of this group’s game

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Pi Cake for circle foods game

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Students used Design Thinking to re-think every day objects. Once their group chose a concept to move forward with, they used Tinkercad to create their new designs. Using their knowledge of volume/surface area, they designed efficient packaging with nets that had limited wasted space. They then created a marketing campaign to promote their new product. The top groups presented their ideas at marketing agency Lawrence & Schiller (one group also had the opportunity to present at 1 Million Cups). They also partnered with Paul Rankin from L&S to focus their ideas in the creation process and Erin Weinzettel from L&S to learn about creating engaging sales pitches.

 CordHub — A product to organize messy computer cords.

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This group was selected to present at L&S and 1MC and ended up absorbing another group, Mr. Untangled (a product that keeps ear bud cords from tangling) and created a new product CordHub mini out of this merge.

LS presenting

SporkChops — A portable set of 7-in-1 utensils that can be kept in a purse or at your desk.

The photo below shows the products with the printing raft still attached.


iPeach — A phone case that can double as a toy or phone stand when you attach Legos.

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Through all of our testing and printing, students used quite a bit of PLA filament. We did not use all that was provided through the DonorsChoose opportunity, but we used enough that we need to order more for the next year. Since donors provided the filament for this year’s students, they decided to assist in providing filament for next year’s students. The top ideas were to have a bake/3D print sale where students donated baked goods and created small items to sell. Some students really went above and beyond using Tinkercad to create intricate designs, and others created simple items that others would want to buy. It was fun to see the variety! And we made enough to be able to purchase 3 large spools of filament for next year’s students.

Rollable Truck and other vehicles

This particular student spent a lot of time creating the vehicles below. The truck is made with axels so it is rollable. The VW van is made with a removable door and roof. (I haven’t tested printing the VW van yet).

These can be downloaded from Thingiverse for you to print yourself: Pickup Truck and VW Van

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Van BodyVan finished


Companion Cube

From the videogame Portal, this student designed and printed a Companion Cube. He even figured out a more efficient way to print it (rotate it to a 45-degree angle and print with supports!)

You can print this student’s design from Thingiverse–others already have, actually: Companion Cube

Companion Cube


As we often encourage shared knowledge and collaboration in our classrooms, this student created a mustang with the help of his friend, who made the truck and VW van above.

You can print this student’s design by downloading it from Thingiverse: Mustang



For this upcoming school year, I’m trying to find unique ways to incorporate 3D printing in the projects for both my graphics and multimedia classes — as well as maybe my art class. There isn’t a lot on the internet right now with how students are using 3D printing in the classroom, so many teachers are starting from nothing as I did.

I’m toying with the idea of week-long challenges or Maker Mondays for students to work on small 3D printing challenges throughout the year. If you’ve got a challenge for them or ideas on how to use the printer in authentic ways, please contact me!

Abandoned Art

Students partnered with Abby Bischoff, behind Abandoned South Dakota, to create artworks based on her photography. They studied her work and really enjoyed looking through her works to choose one to recreate in a new medium. When a new photograph showed up on instagram, I’d share it with them the next day. On their own time outside the classroom, many of them looked up her work online. They seemed to be very impressed with the number of ‘likes’ Abandoned SD has on Facebook!

Abby graciously joined the students for their gallery walk. Below are screenshots of her instagram posts, of her favorite artworks, based on technical skill and student interpretation of the work.

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Fine Arts Night: Social Commentary Art

The art students teamed up with choir and drama for the first ever Fine Arts Night this spring. I had struggled with spreading the word to the community to attend student art events downtown at the Design Center and the Museum of Visual Materials. I had come to the conclusion that in order for the art to be seen, the event needed to be in cooperation with another event already planning for an audience. Thankfully, my colleagues are great at collaborating so we began planning for the Fine Arts Night.

The art students studied social commentary art, the works and symbolism of Banksy and researched topics that are important to them. They created screen printed posters designed to bring awareness to a societal cause that concerns them, and research charities that provide resources toward these issues. Those who attended the event received a raffle ticket for $1 each and could place their ticket(s) in the bucket for the cause/artwork they liked the most. At the end of the night, students drew two names to give away their posters. The posters could also be purchased outright for $10. However many tickets a student had in their bucket at the end of the night equated to how many dollars they had earned for their charity. The students raised over $150 toward charities that night!

Some examples of charities students donated toward are as follows: The Wounded Warrior Project, Charity Water, Equality Now and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Cesar Fiona Julieann Malik Mitchell Seth

Personality Art

Students created artworks that were inspired by aspects of their personality, as well as other art (literature, music, etc.) They created two artworks, acrylic and watercolor. The Museum of Visual Materials chose several artworks to be on display in their gallery for a couple of months this spring.


Students were to paint a layer of acrylic each day, building up on the previous day’s work. The twist: students could use a paintbrush for just one day. It was fun to see them experiment with different techniques and tools with this restriction! Most students did not use a brush at all.

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Students were to use the watercolor medium to create artworks inspired by other art. Each group chose an art movement with which to incorporate into their art and a piece a written piece to inspire the theme. (Short story, book, poetry, quote, lyrics, etc.)

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Julieann1 Madison1 Malik1 Peyton2