Mini Grant Winner story: Doodling. It’s Not Just “Kid-Stuff”
By Janine Feil and Molly Siegel
Three-dimensional design is a hot topic. Can we design something useful and functional? Can we create something artistic in 3D? Can we use technology in creative ways to express student views? Kids have great imaginations and given proper tools, they can truly innovate. Can we inspire our students to unleash their creativity in new ways? These big questions inspired the collaboration of school Art and Tech teachers to propose a grant for 3Doodler pens. We felt that infusing some tech into our Art room would allow us to meet both Art and Technology teaching standards while boosting the creativity and enjoyment of our students.
Our art program at Ivy Hill incorporates TAB art methodology (Teaching Artistic Behavior) which allows for students to experiment, choose media and themes for their own art projects. This freedom of choice in materials is one piece of the design process where collaboration was able to give students a taste of STEAM in their art class. Having 3Doodlers is a perfect media for our 5th graders to experiment with and later move onto really impressive personal art pieces ranging from Sponge Bob to geometric earrings to cubes!
We introduced the 3 Doodler pens with some general instructions on care and use and then let students explore. We could immediately see the excitement in many students at the opportunity to work with a new medium. Students doodled, constructed, and designed. Some tried writing words, some made earrings and some started sculpting. It was powerful to watch the problem-solving process evolve in an authentic setting. One student was working on making a nameplate and had to figure out the best way to support it into a standing position. Another worked on a 3D cube and had to adjust angles and determine how best to connect the sides. This is tinkering at it’s finest.
It took most students a while to get used to figuring out the most effective grip to use while creating with the doodler. They also learned to make adjustments in manipulating and ending a strand of doodler plastic, since a little extra “string” of run-off happens when you turn off the pen. Students truly figured out things by trial and error fairly quickly. Many students shined through big time with this media, students who haven’t with other media introduced in the art room.
It’s been rejuvenating to see students excited about trying out something new. Most kids naturally want to try new things which we love to see. The 3Doodler has definitely expanded our art studio to new possibilities and lots of creative, fun energy!
We would be remiss if we did not include a couple of tips for care and feeding of your 3Doodlers. We have the Start model, which is recommended for ages 6-13. They are cool to the touch, eliminating the chance of burning skin. Even the extruded plastic is only warm, not hot.
We highly recommend writing on the device with Sharpie which color will be used with each pen. It helps keep the color of pens even and it is much easier to know which color is loaded in which pen. Also, charging after each use has been helpful. The batteries last well for our 1 hour art classes and getting into that routine of charging when done using them makes sure that they are ready to go for the next class.
The 3D doodler pens are a big hit with our 5th graders and we can’t wait to introduce them to younger artists! We also hope to incorporate other STEAM elements into our Art studio and can’t wait to see what our students will create next.