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Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a tool kids could use that allowed them to draw whatever they could imagine? Welcome to the 21st century and 3D pens! A 3D pen extrudes heated plastic from the nozzle and allows the user to draw in mid-air, instantly creating a 3D structure. The plastic is soft and malleable as it leaves the pen, then hardens after a few seconds. There is no software to master and no technical training required – kids imagine … and draw.

Fourth graders at WSD are using 3D pens to create individual covered wagons to use as “artifacts” in their end-of-year Exhibition. The wagons will be displayed in a Pioneer Project Living Museum, a culminating activity that celebrates all they have learned in their study of Utah Pioneers. As a first step, students practiced using a pattern to construct a simple object with a 3D pen. Then they considered the common 2D shapes used in constructing a wagon – rectangles, circles, etc. – and designed their own patterns. Now they are using their patterns to construct 3D pioneer wagons, each one a unique reflection of the student’s creativity. Now, there’s imagination you can hold in your hand!