How Can You Make 3D Printing Appeal to All Learning types?

How can you make 3D printing appeal to all learning types? Whatever the age group, we have put together some ideas for the classroom.

The notion that each of us learns differently has been contested throughout the years. However, evidence shows that children and adults learn differently. Through my personal learning experiences and teaching classes of young children, I would agree this is the case. But I also believe it likely that each child learns using a mixture of both – and to meet this potential criteria, teachers should use a number of methods that will appeal to many children.

We’ll look at four main types of learning and how you can develop this type of learning using 3D printing.

So what are the four main types of learning?


3D Printing

Visual learning includes the use of images, colours and layout to elicit a response. You know why highlighters are so popular? Because the colours help you to absorb the really important points more if your brain responds well to visual learning.

Ideas for the classroom

  • Use short movies and clips like this one to explain 3D printing.
  • For younger children, flashcards serve as a great tool, while a role play might work well for older students.
  • Colourful diagrams may help students to absorb the linear process mapping the 3D design up until the point where it has been 3D printed and produced.


3D Printing

Students who respond to aural learning will most likely learn best by hearing a person talking about 3D printing, whether it be in person or using an audio clip. Exchanging ideas by speaking to one another will also be beneficial to an aural learner.

Ideas for the classroom

  • We presented a lively, fun presentation to Busy Primary School. The actual mechanics of explaining 3D printing can be a bit humdrum so we spiced it up. The varied types of filament became the filament family who all had different roles to play!
  • For young students, get creative and make up a rhyming song with your class. Sing it at the start of each 3D print themed lesson!


A combination of speaking and writing is often the best way to educate a verbal learner. For me, writing lists and notes on a subject helps me retain the information a lot better.

Ideas for the classroom

  • Write down the 3d printing process and facts about 3D printing will help verbal learners. Ask learners to talk you through the steps of printing an item on the board.
  • Ask your class to think of and design an object that they would 3D print. It could be anything from a fun learning tool to an item that helps people in other countries, like Fairphone. Once they have done this, ask them to perform a short solo talk.
  • Have the children move around the room, interviewing each other about their chosen design and ask them to write down the answers.

Physical (Kinaesthetic)


Teachers get to grips with the rocket car

Physical learners use their bodies to touch and experience the world around them. They thrive on movement and are good at visualisation.

Ideas for the classroom

  • The rocket car race. We have taken this workshop into several schools and it is always a big hit, especially with science and craft based subjects.
  • Setting up the printer, watching out for malfunctions and fixing them where necessary will be interesting for the physical learner. They will love building the physical object and strive to make the model better.
  • Each filament thrives at a different heat. You could pin different temperatures around the class, split the children into teams and have them run to the correct temperature when you shout ABS! and so on. Children gain points for their team by running to the correct temperature and lose them for running to the wrong one!

The key to knowing which type of learner you are is firstly being in tune with yourself. It was only once I was at University that I realised just how strongly the visual part of my brain helped me to learn. One day I had all the scrambled ideas of an essay in my head but was struggling to think about them in order. I ended up cutting out all of my notes and one by one, spread them out linearly across the floor in the order I wanted to discuss them. And in the end? I got my highest ever mark for an essay!

But most children won’t have a specific learning style and even if they have one they are more inclined towards, it is unlikely that they will be aware of it until later in life. So for now, try lots of different methods  and have fun!

In a follow up blog post we’ll go into more detail about the types of projects teachers could for individual subjects.