Extend Learning With Free Resources

We know how valuable ready-to-go learning activities are. That’s why we have so many available for free, just for you.

We’re here to help by sharing free classroom resources, which include lessons written by teachers for teachers, webinars, tutorials, hundreds of stencils, and more. We’ve got just what you need to plan your curriculum and enhance learning with 3D printing pens throughout the entire school year. We’ve put together a list of our resources to help you set up your learning environment for success for many years to come!

3Doodler’s Free Learning Resources


K-12 Lesson Plans Bring Learning to Life

Our lessons are made by teachers and include step-by-step instructions, vocabulary words and activities, and they also include educational standards such as Common Core, NGST, CSTA, and ISTE. Get ready for your students to be engaged in project based learning and having fun exploring concepts in STEM.

Browse Lesson Plans

STEM Stencils

We have over 300 stencils available for free on our website. From cranking V-8 engines and hydraulic claws to the Eiffel Tower and the Golden Gate Bridge, our versatile stencil library will bring hands-on learning projects to a variety of subjects in your curriculum.

Browse Stencils

Webinars and Tutorials for Whizz Kids

We have an archive of educational webinars and tutorials that link with lesson plans and projects! From language arts activities that bring characters to life to diving into chemistry and creating 3D atoms, our webinars are great ways to enhance learning in your classroom.

Webinars / Video Tutorials / Web Tutorials

There’s an App for that!

With tutorials, stencils, webinars and more, the free 3Doodler App has tons of educational projects that can be Doodled directly off of a tablet screen safely with the 3Doodler Start! If using the Create+, just be sure to place a Create DoodlePad on top of the tablet before Doodling.

Get the Free 3Doodler App

Be sure to follow us on social media for weekly teacher tips, classroom inspiration, teacher spotlights, giveaways and more! We’re on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Linkedin. Follow us so you don’t miss out on the fun!

We want to see how you use 3Doodler EDU in your learning environment! Share your 3D classroom projects with us on social media, and be sure to tag us so we can share what you’re doing with our community.

@3Doodler #3Doodler #3DoodlerEDU #WhatWillYouCreate

Teacher Tips: Preparing for the New School Year

Planning for back to school can seem daunting, especially given the current uncertainty regarding whether to teach students in the classroom or remotely.

Our back to school tips and resources will help you prep with ideas to keep remote learning hands-on, and our list of engaging lessons for all grade levels will help you launch your school year with success.

Tips for Hands-On Remote Learning

The 2020-2021 school year will likely be fully or partially remote for many teachers, so we’re sharing resources that can help you integrate hands-on projects into your virtual learning environment.

  • If your class is partially remote, plan a hands-on project that students can do remotely. Send students home with 3D pens and plastics for an activity, then have them share their projects with the class in a virtual classroom meeting. Sanitize the 3D pens once they are returned to your classroom to keep your tools clean and safe.
  • Use our 3Doodler EDU Webinar archive and our free lessons to extend your hands-on learning projects. Great for the the classroom or the living room!
  • Add the free 3Doodler app to your classroom app tool belt. It is filled with tons of educational, tactile projects to make Doodling as easy as 1, 2, 3D!
      • Students can Doodle with the Start pen directly on the tablet screen safely. If using a Create+ pen, tape a DoodlePad on the screen to protect the tablet.

Plan Lessons Ahead

We’ve picked some great lessons for each grade level to help you plan for back to school. Crafted by teachers, each lesson has step-by-step instructions to make it easy for you to implement. Common Core, CSTA, NGST and ISTE standards are included in our lessons to help you fit them into your curriculum requirements.

Lessons for Grades K-2

Doodle-Sole-Charms (Sense of Touch & Sight)
Time: One 45-minute session
Skill: Beginner
Grades: K to 2nd

In this lesson, students will work with a partner to investigate two of their five senses, touch and sight, and then identify various patterns using these senses. Students will doodle "sole-charms" for their sneakers using the soles of their shoes to create the texture. Students can then attach to the charms to the laces of their sneakers.

MATH: Comparing Numbers with Doodle Gator
Time: Two 45-minute sessions
Skill: Beginner
Grades: K to 2nd

In this activity, students will work in pairs to doodle models which will be used to identify sets of numbers as greater than, less than or equal to. Students will hear the story of Doodle-Gator, a hungry, number-chomping gator who always likes eating the largest number, and Equal Eagle, who loves balancing numbers of equal value on her wings. This will help students remember the meaning and proper usage of these math symbols used to compare numbers.

Lessons for Grades 3-5

Dial up the Sun! Patterns on Earth and in Space
Time: One 45 minute session, which must be followed up over 6 consecutive hours. *Conduct this activity on a sunny day!
Skill: Beginner
Grades: 3rd to 5th

In this activity, students will work in pairs to design an innovative gnomon for a functional sundial. Students will record data regarding their observations about the length and position of shadows cast by the sun over a series of 4 hours. Based on this data, students will make inferences regarding patterns to predict the length of the shadow and its position over the next 2 hours.

Pentomino Puzzler (Geometry)
Time: One-two 45 minute sessions
Skill: Intermediate
Grades: 3rd to 5th

In this activity, students will work in pairs to create a set of 3Doodled pentominoes and then assemble them to solve the 6x10 rectangle. Pentominoes are tetris-like shapes that your students will enjoy designing and working with, as they're problem solving. The focus of this lesson is on the "Standards for Mathematical Practice," which compose the critical components of thinking and reasoning.

Lessons for Grades 6-8

ELA: 3Doodler Stop-Motion
Time: One 45-minute session
Skill: Intermediate
Grades: 6th to 8th

In this activity, students will work in pairs or small groups to identify the theme of a fictional text, summarize a scene that best reflects the theme, and create a 3Doodler stop-motion animation to enact the scene. Creative thinking skills will be integrated into this hands-on project that will help you assess your students' level of comprehension.

MATH: Doodler Dice Rollers
Time: Two 30-40- minute sessions
Skill: Intermediate
Grades: 6th to 8th

In this activity, students work in pairs to doodle dodecahedrons (12-sided) and icosahedrons (20-sided) to use in a math game that practices order of operations. Students will then create their own Doodle Dice Roller games to practice math skills.

Lessons for Grades 9-12

The Basic Unit of Life: Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells (STEM)
Time: Two 60-minute sessions
Skill: Advanced
Grades: 9th to 12th

In this activity, students will work in pairs to doodle two cell models, one of a prokaryotic cell, and one of a eukaryotic cell. The students will build all parts in each model such as the nucleus, plasma, cytoplasm, mitochondrion, etc. The student pairs will analyze and record the differences and similarities between the cells.

Doodle-Atoms
Time: Two 45-minute sessions
Skill: Intermediate
Grades: 9th to 12th

In this activity, students will work individually to create a Rutherford model of an atom. Students will also work with a partner who will be responsible for double-checking their work for accuracy as the project is worked on. Their work will be shared with the rest of the class and displayed for other classes to see.

Want more free K-12 lessons? Browse our 3D Pen lesson library.

Do you have back to school tips to share with our community of teachers? Please post them on social media, and be sure to tag us!

@3Doodler #3Doodler #3DoodlerEDU

Featured image courtesy of Meredith Beed.

Lessons require a 3Doodler Start pen (ages 6-13) or Create+ pen (ages 14+) and 3Doodler Start 3D pen plastics or Create+ 3D pen plastics. We have 3Doodler classroom sets and Learn From Home Sets for differing learning environments. Our 3D pens and 3D pen plastic refills can be purchased on our website or on Amazon. 

Note: 3D pen plastics are not cross-compatible between the Start and the Create+.

Creative Projects to Bust Summer Boredom

How can you prevent a summer slump this time of year? Despite the lovely weather and freedom that summer break brings, often the familiar words “I’m bored” fill the air. Bring in the boredom busters!

These easy projects provide fun and creative ways to bust summer boredom, no matter which 3D printing pen you have. Spark imagination and build excitement. Have your 3D pen plastics handy and get ready for a craft-tastic time with your 3D Build & Play, 3Doodler Start, or 3Doodler Create+!

Projects for 3D Build & Play


Spectacular Story Settings

Tell new and exciting tales with our free downloadable story backgrounds! Find your favorite new backdrops here, print them out, and let your imagination run wild.

Extend Your Play Full STEAM Ahead

Go full STEAM ahead by extending your storytime play with tech! See this amazing example of a stop-motion animation film made with the 3D Build & Play characters. Take your adventures to the next level with stop-motion animation.

Projects for 3Doodler Start


Flashlight Projectors for Spooky Summer Stories

Tell spooky summer camp stories with custom flashlight projectors. Make them with our free stencils or create your own!

Ping Pong Safari

Create a collection of your favorite safari animals with our safari animals tutorial. Simply use a ping pong for the base of your animal, add their features, then it’s safari time!

Projects for 3Doodler Create+


Beautiful Bird Feeder

Build a bird feeder in any color you like with our easy-to-follow stencil. Pick your favorite 3D pen plastic refills and start Doodling!

Hedgehog Hider

Create your own hedgehog hider by following our fun tutorial. A perfect storage spot for your tiny bits and bobs.

What are your favorite 3D pen ideas that bust summer boredom? Let us know on social media, and be sure to share pictures of your projects!

@3Doodler #3Doodler #3DoodlerEDU #BoredomBusters #WhatWillYouCreate

Cool Projects for Summer Break

Summer is nearly here!

Now that school is coming to a close, we’ve got some fun projects to help keep your creative spirit high this season. No matter if you’re Doodling from home, a makerspace, or summer school, you’ll enjoy the creative process of making these projects, as well as the cool Doodles you’ll have when you’re finished! All of these activities can be made with the 3Doodler Start or the 3Doodler Create+ pens.

Who’s ready to start creating in 3D?

Stellar Doodles to Celebrate Nasa’s SpaceX


Rockin’ Rocket Doodle

Build your own rocket model with our out of this world stencil. It will be out of this world. Lift your Doodles off of the page and celebrate SpaceX’s lift off! Make it with our free stencil here.

Doodle to the Moon and Back

Create your own moon with this stencil, or even an entire mobile of the planets in our solar system. Follow our stencil here to explore outer space hands on.

Fun Fashion for Warm Weather Vibes


Fancy Floral Earrings

Want to have one of a kind earrings that are sure to wow your friends? You can create your very own flower-themed earrings with our easy stencils. Compliments guaranteed! Make it with our free stencil here.

70s Hippie Glasses

Embrace your favorite 70s music with these fun, groovy glasses. Perfect for selfies and festival vibes.
Follow our stencil here to tune into your inner flower child.

Custom Tools to Document Your Summer

DIY Book Cover

Make a custom journal to log your summer experiences! Use FLEXY with the Create+ for a flexible journal cover, or use any other plastics with the Start or the Create+ pens for a hardback. See the project here.

Perfect Pencil Box

Add a custom pencil box to your creative space to store your pens, pencils, and markers. Decorate it based on your favorite colors and themes. Use our stencil here to bring the pencil box to life!

Projects to Salute Summer Snacks


Coolest Cookie Stamps

Everybody loves cookies! Make your own custom cookie stamps with this neat stencil. You can even get creative and make your own cookie stamp designs. Dress up your cookies with our free stencil here.

Fun Food Badges

Dress up hats, shirts, bags, and more with DIY pins of your favorite food! I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream badges as cool as these. Follow our stencil here to start creating.

There are so many projects to help you launch into summer. What will you create?

Please share your amazing creations with us on social media!

@3Doodler #3Doodler #3DoodlerEDU #WhatWillYouCreate

5 Reasons Why You Should Raise a Wimpy Kid

The story of Greg Heffley’s struggles has inspired millions, and it all started with a diary.

Research shows that active storytelling and creativity has long-lasting impacts on children’s development that carry on well into adulthood, meaning the stories they tell now can have a positive impact on shaping the adults they’ll eventually become.

Does your kid have what it takes to be a Wimpy Kid with great storytelling? Here’s why you should help them get there:

  • 1. Wimpy Kids Solve Problems

    Storytelling and engaging in creative fiction also helps children develop problem-solving skills for real-life situations. What happens in their stories may not be true, but by working through fictional problems kids’ brains learn to apply the same thought process to obstacles they may face in their day-to-day life.
  • 2. Wimpy Kids Get Along Better

    Children who engage in fiction—either from reading, writing, or having stories read to them—find it easier to understand other people. This helps them form better social connections earlier in life.
  • 3. Wimpy Kids Show Empathy

    By engaging with the reactions of characters in stories, kids develop the ability to grasp the thoughts and feelings of others. This means even outside of stories, kids can learn how to show empathy for those around them, whether on the playground or in the classroom.
  • 4. Wimpy Kids Create

    Aside from writing and making up new stories, creating tangible characters that kids can move and see interacting enhances stories for kids, and helps stimulate learning, engagement, and brain activity even more.
  • 5. Wimpy Kids Play

    Creating characters and writing their own storylines gives kids a head start for wide range of artistic pursuits, which plays a big part in being a well-rounded student (you can read more about how art plays a role in academics here). Kids can apply the thinking and engagement they get from storytelling to theater, movie-making, writing, or other art forms.

For a limited time, you can get a free 3D Diary inspired by Diary of a Wimpy Kid along with a free pack of 3Doodler Start Plastic with every purchase of a 3Doodler Start Essentials or Super Mega Pen Set and give your kids a guided way to help inspire them to create and tell their own stories, while creating touchable and permanent characters that they can use for endless future story combinations.

Making Physics Physical

What is the best way to learn the physics behind bridges? By building one.

To build a functional bridge, it’s important to have a strong backing in the basics of physics, Newton’s Laws, the properties of matter, and other rules and facts that describe our world—but it can be hard to see how they all work together at the same time. The best way to learn about bridges is to build them. And that’s just what they do in Glenn Couture’s class.

Getting the Drop on Science

Couture teaches Honors and AP physics at a high school in Norwalk, Connecticut. During the school year he guides students through a wide range of topics that make up physics. These include kinematics, the relationship between work, power and energy, waveforms, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, electricity and light.

Glenn Couture creates physics models using the 3Doodler Create.

A key part of teaching these topics is taking abstract descriptions of how physics work, and letting students experience them first hand.

"Small changes to the project can prove to be outsized challenges that send students back to the drawing board." Share

Getting through those disparate topics can take a good chunk of time, but Couture caps off many of the units with physical projects. These let students apply what they’ve learned in class to a real-world problem, demonstrating that they haven’t just learned information, but they have an understanding of how to use it.

We gave Couture a 3Doodler Create and asked him to come up with exciting ways he could incorporate it into his lesson plans. One of the first things he looked at was the classic “egg drop” experiment.

Extreme Packaging

“In the current rendition of the egg drop, the students are only allowed to use plastic drinking straws, any sort as long as there’s no paper on them, masking tape, and one raw, uncooked, uncoated, unpainted egg. The idea is to have the egg land without breaking,” Couture said.

When it comes to the actual design of the project, he has only one limitation: “It has to fit through the door of the classroom. I’ve had students come close with that depending on how many straws they’re using.” The eggs and their straw enclosures are then brought to the school’s roof and dropped 55 feet to the ground. Only those students who have eggs survive the fall receive an A.

A prototype of a Doodled egg cage.

Couture wants to attempt a variation on that project using the 3Doodler, with some new constraints. “This could be done on a smaller scale, directly in the classroom,” Couture said while examining a prototype 3Doodler egg cage. “I don’t think that it could work the full distance of 55 feet, but 16 or 18 feet would work.”

He envisions a second round of testing, while providing only a limited number of rods to students. This would add a component of “cost effectiveness” to the project. In the real world, engineers often have limited materials to work with, and need to find ways to balance competing goals.

“We had a chance to visit with the packaging engineers at a [cookie manufacturer] where they have to package things to be in trucks and things like that. So there’s that application of what they learn in the egg-drop, where they keep a product from breaking up, but we can also go bigger and look at the failed Mars Climate Orbiter of the 90’s where the probe was lost because of an error translating metric and imperial units.” Small changes to the project can prove to be outsized challenges that send students back to the drawing board.

Model Atomic Behavior

Other projects that Couture was able to develop during his time with the 3Doodler include more illustrative of processes in physics. He built a prototype model of a side-face molecule placement crystal.

A Doodled visualization of molecules in a crystal lattice.

“In chemistry, solids form crystals,” he explained while showing off the cube, a helpful tool for visualizing the relationship between molecules in a crystal lattice.

"I sometimes find that students have difficulty taking a concept from 2D to 3D and vice versa." Share

The 3Doodler offers an advantage for these models by producing long lasting models which illustrate the stability of various crystal types. Couture said that he would like to let groups of students work on different crystals and build up a collection of varieties over time.

“I sometimes find that students have difficulty taking a concept from 2D to 3D and vice versa,” Couture added. He feels that the 3Doodler is a unique opportunity to bridge that gap, as well as more literal ones.

Building Bridges

Another physical project that Couture’s students engage in is called “Quakertown.” Students create buildings out of folded paper that must withstand both the addition of weights and a mechanically shaken table to simulate both static and dynamic loads.

A Doodled Parker Truss bridge.

Students in his classes could one day create bridges using the 3Doodler to understand the how these complex structures operate, and compare the strengths and weaknesses of different designs.

"On the page, it’s easy to understand the X axis and the Y axis, but having it in 3D really helps you grasp the Z axis." Share

Couture put together a Parker Truss bridge, using a template from online. He chose the design because its gentle curve would be hard to replicate using other craft methods. However, Couture felt the 3Doodler was easily up to the task, especially after he had cut his teeth putting together other projects.

Teaching in 3 Dimensions

The last of the four samples he produced was a model of the orbitals which describe where electrons orbiting the nucleus of an atom might be found.

A Doodled orbital model.

“On the page, it’s easy to understand the X axis and the Y axis,” Couture explained as he put the finishing touches on the model, “but having it in 3D really helps you grasp the Z axis.”

After spending some time exploring the possibilities of the 3Doodler, Couture describes himself as interested in finding even more uses for the tool. It opens up unique opportunities to explore the world of physics. And those opportunities extend beyond his own classroom.

“My wife teaches seventh and eighth grade science, and she’s interested in it too. They do a bridge project using toothpicks and glue. The problem with that is it takes so long for the glue to set but this is practically instant.”

New STEM fields are emerging all the time, and rising to those challenges will require a mixture of hands-on experience, creativity, and intuitive knowledge. Couture’s time with the 3Doodler has shown just a few ways that it can help provide just that.

Looking for more ways to bring 3Doodler into your classroom?
Check out our dedicated EDU section for classroom tips, lesson plans, and exclusive EDU bundles for educators.

The Future of EDU

Education has always been a key focus for 3Doodler. With a new Head of Education for 3Doodler EDU, and with another successful year at ISTE 2017, we’re looking to the future of education and tactile technology.

With a commitment to learning and classroom integration, we’re continually learning how we can improve accessibility and usability, to get more 3Doodlers into more classrooms and into the hands of more students.

A Focus on Education

As 3Doodler EDU grows and learns, we’ve expanded our education department with aerospace engineer and logistics and supply chain specialist Leah Wyman as our new Head of Education.

“We know the appointment of an aerospace and project engineer with supply chain experience to lead our education efforts may look unusual on paper,” admits 3Doodler Co-founder and CEO Maxwell Bogue. “But Leah’s engineering background, experience in data-driven strategy, and her lifelong love of learning make her the perfect fit for 3Doodler EDU.”

“Leah, as well as having an education background, also has a strong background in operations and management, and for us, in a way personifies STEM,” agrees 3Doodler Co-founder Daniel Cowen.

As a life-long leader in the push for gender equality in STEM subjects, Leah brings the experience and knowledge vital to helping 3Doodler’s own efforts in closing the gender gap.

“Having done engineering at school, and part of the minority of women in that field, Leah gives us an insight that allows us to help level that playing field even further,” explains Daniel.

Leah’s current focus is a close examination of the end-to-end experience of 3Doodler EDU. From first discovery to integration in the classroom and returning feedback to the company, Leah’s primary concern is providing the resources and accessibility that helps educators get the most out of their EDU bundles. But more than anything, she wants to be able to help teachers and students discover the joy of learning.

"Learning should be fun, and this is a way to help teachers achieve that." Share

“One of my goals is to really illustrate how learning is fun,” Leah explains. “Learning should be fun, and this is a way to help teachers achieve that. Teachers want that, and so do the kids.”

Leah says that having fun and engaging in the learning process is key. “I was lucky that I enjoyed learning when I was growing up, and that helped shape who I am today,” she says. “All kids deserve that opportunity, and 3Doodler can really help bring lessons to life in a fun way.”

Building Creative Classrooms

Integrating 3Doodler into education has always been a part of our mission.

“From the very early days of 3Doodler there was a keen interest within the education sector in what we were doing,” recalls Daniel. “And we saw this coming from a lot of different groups—special needs groups as well as just educators generally.”

While one of our initial concepts for how the 3Doodler could be applied in an educational setting was for STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, Math—subjects, it soon became clear that there were no limits for how the 3Doodler could help students learn.

We’ve seen creative teachers use the 3Doodler to teach any combination of subjects, like creating a model town to help students engage with history and English. Educators across the country have found that the 3Doodler is the perfect tool for integrating art into the typical STEM subjects, to create STEAM for a well-rounded curriculum.

Other teachers have found that a tactile learning tool like 3Doodler helps students with learning disabilities engage better in the classroom.

For Leah, that hands-on learning opportunity is what makes 3Doodler so special. “I think every student can benefit from having that hands-on experience with learning,” she explains, “but there are other students who don’t learn in a traditional way who can really benefit from this. They might think they’re a bad student, but when you put something like the 3Doodler in their hands, then they realise they can do it, but just in a different way.”

“If we can help students who are more visually or tactile oriented progress quicker than they would have otherwise, then that’s a great thing,” Daniel agrees. “It levels the playing field. And every study we’ve done has shown that students that otherwise might have been at a disadvantage because they’re not textbook oriented have thrived with a tactile tool like the 3Doodler.”

"If we can help students who are more visually or tactile oriented progress quicker than they would have otherwise, then that’s a great thing." Share

With EDU bundles for both the 3Doodler Start and Create, we’re looking to a future of integrated tech in classrooms all over the world. And as we continue to seek new ways to design our products, website, and materials to be more classroom friendly, we’re also looking at ways to make the 3Doodler accessible for any teacher or student.

Initiatives like our partnership with DonorsChoose.org opened up creative possibilities for students across the country.

“The dream is to have this in every school, whether private or public, and to have 3Doodler accessible to every student, no matter their income level or where they are in the world,” says Daniel.

Read about how teachers Connie and Blair and Patricia and Christy funded their DonorChoose.org projects and integrated 3Doodler into their classrooms.

3Doodler at ISTE 2017

ISTE 2017 marks 3Doodler’s third year of participating in the education conference that brings thousands of teachers together to share and celebrate their ideas for STEM innovation and tech.

“For us, ISTE is as much showing off our wares as it is about absorbing the thoughts from thousands to tens of thousands of teachers on what we can be doing to improve the classroom experience and to take 3Doodler and adapt it and our materials so the students can gain even more from it,” explains Daniel.

Leah agrees. “It was great to be able to interface with the teachers and also some students that were there to really understand their ideas for the product,” she says. “Especially the teachers who already had 3Doodler EDU bundles and could explain some of their lesson plans. I’m so impressed with how teachers have been able to integrate the pens into their classrooms already.”

One teacher explained how she had used the 3Doodler to give her health students a clearer concept of disease and how different sicknesses affect the body. In pairs, one student would use the 3Doodler to create a model of a healthy organ, while the other was tasked with Doodling the same organ but with a specific illness.

In other cases, teachers and students discovering the 3Doodler for the first time discovered new applications that hadn’t considered before. “We have a fully articulated Doodled hand that we bring to every show and it sits on the front table,” says Daniel. “This year, a deaf student and teacher with their sign translator came by the booth, and saw the hand. Mid-conversation, the sign translator started using the articulated hand to make sign gestures.”

It was something the team had never seen before, and were immediately struck with how something like a Doodled hand could be used to teach sign language in a tactile way.

"ISTE is as much showing off our wares as it is about absorbing the thoughts from thousands to tens of thousands of teachers." Share

Other discoveries for the team came from concerns from teachers who were able to picture exactly how their kids might use—or try to misuse—the pens in the classroom.

This year, 3Doodler was proud to feature EDU bundles for the 3Doodler Start and showcase how younger learners could benefit from tactile technology in the classroom. One teacher was concerned about whether the 3Doodler Start plastic would come out of carpet.

“The teacher said they could just picture the students sitting on the floor of the classroom and Doodling into the carpet,” Daniel says. “So we decided to find out!”

He immediately sat down with a 3Doodler Start on the carpeted floor of the ISTE convention hall and brazenly Doodled as an elementary student might.

Fortunately for everyone involved, the Start plastic came right off, and ISTE 2017 was able to continue with more teachable moments.

A Doodle a Day

Just as “an apple a day will keep the doctor away,” creating something every day can have measurable benefits.

Art may not keep the doctor away, but it can still improve your life, your motor skills, and even your mental health. We spoke to an expert about just what shape these benefits take, with a focus on what art can do for students.

An exceptionally wide variety of people can benefit from creating art, according to Dawn Gilbert Ippoliti. Ippoliti is a licensed, board certified, and registered art therapist in New York City who has been in practice since 2003. As an art therapist, she develops ways to use art with clients of all ages to achieve goals that can range from gaining insight into a client’s psychological state, to exercising their minds through engaging in a creative process. She has also engaged in art therapy with children in New York City’s public schools.

"Creativity promotes productivity while reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and really just makes you function better overall and feel better as a human being." Share

Art therapy is becoming an increasingly popular field, which Ippoliti believes is in large part due to recent research into the concept of “neuroplasticity,” the ability of the brain to reorganize itself and form new connections.

Forming new connections is critical to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), which is gaining prominence in many education circles. With the emergence of a high-tech economy, educators are realizing the importance of emphasizing subjects that help students master and enter these new fields.

But a simple mastery of numbers is not enough to excel in many STEM jobs. This includes brand new jobs that didn’t exist 10 years ago as well as traditional ones such as engineering and programming. To truly excel not just in these fields, but in life as well, people need a healthy dose of creativity. Combining art with the more technical fields yields STEAM, a more holistic approach to preparing students for the future.

“When people engage in art making,” Ippoliti says, “they’re really tapping into the right side of their brain, they’re getting those creative juices flowing and they’re stimulating the side of the brain responsible for creation and emotion, an abstract way of thinking as opposed to the left which is more rational.”

Getting both sides of the brain working in concert, what is known as “whole brain stimulation” is very beneficial according to Ippoliti. “There is research that indicates that creativity promotes productivity while reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and really just makes you function better overall and feel better as a human being. Art therapy’s goal is to provide that stimulation.”

Ippoliti sees the 3Doodler as uniquely suited to providing that whole brain stimulation. “Using something like the dinosaur stencils on the website you can use the pen to make all the little bones and put it all together. So you’re not only being creative in terms of picking the design you want or the color that you want, you’re creating something, but then you’re putting it together like a puzzle and really engaging in whole brain thinking.”

The 3Doodler is unique in that it can provide familiarity with a high-tech material like extruded plastic while also encouraging a tactile feel that relies on an individual’s motor skills. There is extensive evidence that there are numerous benefits for children to work with art. There are obvious advantages to fine motor skills and spatial thinking, but being able to express themselves in any medium can lead to more confidence and more capacity for critical thinking.

The ability of the 3Doodler to fuse these different types of thinking is particularly valuable.

“There are some schools of thought that students should focus purely on academics,” Ippoliti says of curriculums that don’t make room for art. “These types of academics will focus purely on engaging the left side of the brain, but you need balance to really get all the benefits of a growing brain. You need the symbiosis between the two hemispheres. You need to be constantly engaging both sides of the brain to grow optimally.”

"It can be hard to figure out where to begin with a project, and the 3Doodler is great for just getting your ideas out there." Share

Beyond the extensive benefits for growing individuals, creating art of all sorts has a real value for everybody. Some research suggests that there are both psychological and physical benefits to creating art, with certain kinds yielding different therapeutic values. And one of the most significant perks of creating art is that getting the benefits is as simple as picking up a tool and getting started. That’s why Ippoliti loves the name of the 3Doodler.

“It can be hard to figure out where to begin with a project, and the 3Doodler is great for just getting your ideas out there. The name, ‘3Doodler’ means it doesn’t have to feel like you’re creating a masterpiece from the start. The name says ‘let’s just get it out there,’ and in art therapy getting the process started is often one of the most important parts.”

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