Free Lesson Plans and Classroom Tips from a District-Level Expert

Velvet Holmes

“Do you have any lessons where you find student engagement to be down? This is a great place to offer an activity with the 3Doodler pens. It can be the smallest project, but it will give new life to the lesson in the learners’ eyes.” -Velvet Holmes

In this Blog
  • Meet Velvet Holmes, District Technology Literacy Specialist from Oregon School District in Wisconsin.

  • When Velvet seeks increased engagement in her classrooms, she brings out 3Doodler pens.

  • Explore three new lessons written by Velvet, two for grades 3-5 and one for grades 6-8.

Velvet Holmes, district technology literacy specialist, believes it is her role to encourage learners to take risks and think outside of the box.

We had the opportunity to speak with Velvet about using technology in the classroom. In the interview, she shares tips on keeping students engaged, and as a bonus she has created three low-prep lessons that you can start using today.

Thanks so much for meeting with us, Velvet! Can you please tell us about yourself, your district, and a quick snapshot of your goals?
"“It is important to me to be a strong female role model for my learners that are interested in STEAM. Most of my focus lies in Computer Science and coding, where the female voice is missing.”" Share

I have been an educator for 25 years, the past 22 serving in information technology literacy in the Oregon School District of Wisconsin.

My role is district wide, so I work with K-12 staff and students to integrate technology meaningfully into their classroom curriculum.

I am passionate about encouraging learners to take risks, even if it means they fail.

That failure teaches them. I often answer questions with a question.

Students feel frustrated sometimes, but it helps to walk them through a thought process. Once they know I will not give them an answer, they take the time to problem-solve and build confidence as they answer their own questions.

It is important to me to be a strong female role model for my learners that are interested in STEAM. Most of my focus lies in Computer Science and coding, where the female voice is missing.

How do you use 3Doodler pens in your student activities?
"“Giving learners immediate power to create is priceless.”" Share

I invested in a few 3Doodler Start pens several years ago, and now I have a full cart of them! Giving learners immediate power to create is priceless. In a world that is so busy, it is nice to put a 3D pen in a student’s hand and let them quietly take the time to express themselves.

We do a project called “City X” which is about building a community away from earth.

Each citizen in the community has a different problem. Each person has to come up with an invention that has not been created, and students use the 3Doodler pens to make a prototype.

In Math, they build a community of stores with the 3Doodler pens, create a budget and work to find the area and perimeter of the store.

When using the 3Doodler pens, the students are quiet and happy Doodling.

The 3Doodler pens are amazing tools for mental health and being in one’s own mind. Students are inspired to create by seeing other Doodles, too!

Do you have any tips you can share with our 3Doodler EDU community?
"As you move through the design process, the 3Doodler pens are great tools for students to mock up prototypes and see an immediate visual of their creative idea." Share

Do you have any lessons where you find low student engagement? This is a great place to offer an activity with the 3Doodler pens. It can be the smallest project, but it will give new life to the lesson in the learners’ eyes. As you move through the design process, the 3Doodler pens are great tools for students to mock up prototypes and see an immediate visual of their creative idea.

I use a mobile cart to travel from class to class with the pens.

To ensure our students treat the materials with respect, I share a life rule from a fellow teacher: “Keep a neat appearance, keep your belongings in order, and pick up after yourself.”

When our learners understand this expectation, they take ownership and ensure that things are put away, plugged in, and tidy.

I truly believe this sense of responsibility builds community and student engagement, while allowing time for me to teach!

New Lesson Plans for Elementary and Middle School

STEM: 2D vs 3D Bubble Wands
Time: One 60-minute session
Skill: Beginner
Grades: 3rd to 5th

Learners will plan and create a two dimensional bubble wand using. They will test their wand to see the shape, size and number of the bubbles that come out. They will then create a three dimensional shaped bubble wand and see if that changes the bubble sizes, shapes, and quantities.

3D Geography: My Land
Time: Two 40-minute sessions
Skill: Beginner
Grades: 3rd to 5th

Learners will use their knowledge of landforms to create a paper map with a compass rose and key. The map will include at least one 3D landform, made with the 3Doodler pen.

History: First Nation Symbol
Time: Two 40-minute Sessions
Skill: Beginner
Grades: 6th to 8th

Learners will plan and create a meaningful symbol to represent the Wisconsin-native First Nation group that they researched. They will showcase this symbol as part of their presentation and gallery walk.

Do you have tips to share on using tech tools in your learning space? Share your thoughts with the 3Doodler EDU community on social media, and be sure to follow Velvet on Twitter!

Tag Us: @3Doodler, #3Doodler, #3DoodlerEDU

Celebrating Earth Day: Prototyping Tools to Make a Cleaner Tomorrow

In this article
  • Middle School science teacher, Ellen Peterson, shares how prototyping can help students take risks and invent new things.

  • Ellen’s students prototyped hydraulic claws, which were then used to clean up trash on their school grounds.

  • Students discovered they were learning more from their failures than their successes.

  • Scroll to the bottom to see our free hydraulic claw stencil that can be used to replicate this project at your home or school!

Written By Ellen Peterson, Science Teacher, Smithfield Middle School

Helping students develop ideas and create things is such an important process. Oftentimes I find my students will not take the risks involved in inventing new things because they have never learned about prototyping. They’ve often never been encouraged or allowed to truly explore the process involved in bringing great work to life. With that as my goal, we started working with 3D printing to create hydraulic claws.

"“Oftentimes I find my students will not take the risks involved in inventing new things because they have never learned about prototyping.”" Share

I introduced my students to 3D printing using 3Doodler Start pens. First we played with them, doodling our names and building small characters or logos that the students wanted to create. Soon, we moved on to using molds to create the parts of hydraulic claws.

My students didn’t know anything about hydraulics so we took a small detour in our process, got out some tubs and buckets of water, a few pieces of aquarium hose, and some syringes and figured out how water could be used to push a syringe plunger up while we pushed the connected plunger down.

This led to more than a few conversations about how we used that in real life – the brakes on cars, the lifts on our adjustable stools, and heavy machinery like cranes at our local shipyards. After exploring that, we went back to assembling our claws. The first claw that was assembled was used to pick up a piece of trash on the classroom floor. It worked!

After several class periods of exploration, we decided we needed a way to test all of our ideas, so I posed the question, “What could we do to test our inventions?” It was a student’s idea to pick up the trash we could see right outside our window.

Given the opportunity to brainstorm, they realized that their ideas would be taken seriously and they turned their attention to solving a problem we’d been hearing about in our local community… litter along our roadsides that was ugly, messy, and causing a multitude of problems. The students asked, “Could we pick up the trash outside to test our claws?”

"“Given the opportunity to brainstorm, they realized that their ideas would be taken seriously and they turned their attention to solving a problem we’d been hearing about in our local community.”" Share

That led to picking up other, heavier items and a race to finish more claws. After a few items were picked up, one claw broke. That brought about the process of repairing and improving each version of the claw, only now the kids wanted to know if bigger syringes worked better, if additional “fingers” on the claws would make for better claws, or if there were better materials for making the claws into sturdier tools.

We talked a lot about how other people’s ideas gave us more ideas of how to improve our own work and how, even if an idea didn’t work, it gave us more ideas. Several students took their ideas to more precise methods, using TinkerCAD and our 3D printer to manufacture parts.

Soon we moved away from just creating claws to adding handles and activation buttons to improve our inventions. Each time a new idea was proposed, I tried to make sure materials were available to make that idea possible. I didn’t know if their ideas would work (and often, I was sure they would not) but we tried to build them anyway.

When the project was over, students were surprised to discover they would be receiving grades for their work! They brought up the fact that not one of our homemade claws was still intact. Did that mean they would get a failing grade?

This led to a discussion about the importance of the process, and not the final product. Most of my students felt they had learned more from their mistakes than their successes! Many of them realized they got new ideas when something failed – not when something worked.

For teachers interested in recreating this project, I think it is important to understand it is a process that takes patience and time to explore. The time investment was well worth it for the learning that took place. Having lots of materials on hand was helpful, as was having professionally created “trash pickers” that students could look at for ideas.

Probably the most important thing I would recommend is making sure to build a claw and go through the process that you expect your students to go through. That experience was priceless in helping students to problem solve.

Ellen Peterson
Middle School Science Teacher
Smithfield Middle School
Smithfield, Virginia

Want to replicate this in your learning environment?

Use our free hydraulic claw stencil to get started, or check out our 3Doodler Start Science and Engineering Activity Kit, which includes everything you need to make a hydraulic claw. You can watch a complete video tutorial here.

Do you have educational Earth Day projects to share? We want to hear about them! Post your innovations and tag us @ 3Doodler or # 3Doodler and be sure to follow Ellen Peterson on Twitter.

Launch 2020 with Projects for your 3Doodler Pen

Happy New Year! Let the old year end and the New Year begin… with amazing Doodles!

The holiday hubbub is finally calming down, and now is a great time to start creating with your 3D pens, new or old. Whether you’re new to Doodling, or if you’re a seasoned 3D-pen pro, these helpful resources and 3Doodler projects will help take your Doodling to the next level.

If you’re a teacher and you’re interested in bringing 3Doodler into your classroom, we’d love to provide support tailored for your unique classroom needs. Feel free to reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help!

Getting Started with your new 3D Pen

More resources for your 3Doodler Start here.

More resources for your 3Doodler Create here.

Projects for Your 3Doodler Start Pen

Bookworm Bookmark

Nothing expresses gratitude more than a personalized gift, so join 3Doodler in crafting the perfect Bookmark for your favorite Librarian!

Fabric Prints

Add a custom touch to any piece of fabric by making your very own fabric stencils.


Use this stencil to create a helicopter with moving rotor blades.

Handmade Beads

We are in love with these simple & stunning handmade beads, created by Grace Du Prez.

These beads tick all the boxes for us:

  • Modern & utterly wearable
  • Tailored to your style
  • Handmade look and feel
  • Myriad of applications
  • Gorgeous gifts
  • Super cool family project
  • Really easy for anyone to make
  • The larger beads are hollow so you use less plastic, which means more pretty beads!

Projects for Your 3Doodler Create+ Pen

V-Twin Engine

Make a model of a V-Twin engine using our simple stencil. Yes, it really cranks!

Wine Holder

Deliver your next wine gift in a handmade wine holder, made with FLEXY filament. It’s guaranteed to wow all who behold it!

Pot Pourri Holder

Add an elegant touch to your home with our lavish pot pourri holder stencil. The Doodle is sure to be a talking piece!

2020 Glasses Stencil

We’ve made a special stencil just for 2020, which can be made with any of our 3D pens. Rock these 2020 glasses to launch the New Year in style!

Lotus Light

Set a zen mood in your abode with our lotus light stencil.

Cord Holder

Use our practical cord holder stencil and some FLEXY filament to organize your cables... in style.

Have a question about anything at all? 3Doodler’s renowned Customer Service is here for you. Contact Us.

"Should you ever need assistance, 3Doodler’s customer service is by far the most responsive we’ve encountered."-The Wirecutter Share

The world wants to see your Doodles! Please share them on social media.

Tag Us: @3Doodler, #3Doodler, #3DoodlerEDU

Wicked Witches and Mysterious Masks with Heather Baharally

“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

3D pen artist Heather Baharally has been summoning the creative spirit, and has quite a few enchanting crafts for you to behold. Her weird witch Doodles and magical mask tutorial have landed just in time for All Hallows’ Eve.

We had the opportunity to speak with her about her creative processes and her very personal connection with this hair-raising holiday.

Thanks so much for taking the time to meet with us, Heather. We are absolutely in love with your Halloween masks and witches! We wanted to ask you, what do you love about Halloween?

It is so much fun to dress in costume and act silly or scary. I love the chance to get out and meet the neighbours – to celebrate and confront our fears as a community.

Can you comment on the inspiration behind your Doodled witches?

Kitchen witches are a tradition I grew up with, where you hang a witch in your kitchen to give good luck and prevent food spoiling or burning.

Often made as old women on wooden spoons, I changed the design to be pin-up figures on brooms. The bright colour range of plastic filaments available encourages a playful attitude.

My first witch was inspired by a friend going through a hard time.

She was starting fresh in a new home and I wanted to give her some good luck. I love the story and symbol of kitchen witches and I keep making them and other fun fantasy figures that inspire narrative.

Can you speak about your creative process with the witches, and any challenges around Doodling human figures?

Creating a character is a chance to tell yourself a story. Who are they? What are they doing? What clothing or accessories do they have?

I like to start with the head of a figure. It is the hardest part to make, and the rest of the proportions for the body are based on the size of the head. Once I have a face I like, I can measure the length of the limbs and torso and begin to create the basic shapes, often using a ‘skeleton’ of filament strands. Smoothing the skin is challenging, but making costume details is a lot of fun.

You’ve been making Doodled masks for many years. What do you love about making masks and creating your own costumes?

This may sound strange, but I think my fondness for masks comes from the current social culture. It is a response to the lack of privacy and the saturation of cameras and social media in everyday life. Masks are also characters, telling a story, and I love how that reflects in a lot of my artwork.

Masks and costumes can come is any shape or color and gave me a form to experiment with the variety of materials and techniques available to 3Doodler users. I learned my scribble technique by making masks and wanting a light cool structure. I learned ways to mimic ice with layers of filament by making a couple of different styles of ice masks.

For all of the aspiring Doodlers out there, do you have any advice on making masks you can share?

Refinement can happen as you go, so don’t worry if it’s not perfect right away! Paper cutouts covered in tape work great to add details like ears or horns. Be inspired by what you love, then put the time in and see the project to the end.

Scales Mask Tutorial

Materials Needed


  • Let the pen warm up, and click to start, holding the pen’s nozzle where you want the first scale to go.
  • Hold the nozzle in place until a large blob of filament has accumulated. Click to stop, and hold pen in place a moment before quickly pulling away with a jerk.
  • Allow the filament to cool only a moment before pressing it down quickly in short, quick pats.
  • Once filament has settled in place, you can smooth fingerprints or scuffs out.
  • Heather’s Tip: Using a blank mask, I started in the center with yellow filament. Making scale rings around the eyes in yellow, green and turquoise. This mask is a great example of the scale texture and could be adapted for many kinds of creatures!

Are you inspired by Heather’s Halloween Doodles? Let us know on social media, and be sure to share all of your spooky sculptures with us!

@3Doodler #3Doodler

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About the artist: Canadian artist Heather Baharally started working with 3D pens when she received her first 3Doodler order from backing the kickstarter campaign. She has spent the years since exploring the endless possibilities of this new and exciting media, developing several unique and distinct techniques and styles using 3Doodler pens. She won several of the early 3Doodler social media challenges and contests, solidifying her intent to use the pen to create artwork. From drawing portraits on plexiglas to large sculptural paintings on canvas, wearable chainmail and masks to 3D fairies and witches, she continues to push the limits of what can be done using 3D pens and plastic filaments.

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