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In the summer of 2015, two female undergraduate students decided to bike across country from San Francisco to New York City. Along their way they stopped at middle schools across the country to teach hands-on lessons on renewable energy based on a mini 3D printed solar-powered bicycle called SolCycle. In the fall, one of the students, Elizabeth Case, enrolled at Cornell University as a graduate student and contacted Xraise to collaborate on enhancing the lesson plan and to make it more accessible to teachers across the nation.

This activity had great potential to be added to the Xraise Lending Library to introduce different science concepts and aspects of the engineering design process. Xraise added prototype design to the lesson plan and a DIY SolCycle version was born using recyclable and day-to-day materials. Xraise also added a section on “An Introduction to CAD design” using the free online TinkerCAD drawing program.

Last fall, Elizabeth Case and Eva Luna got a chance to present this new lesson plan to middle school teachers at the Science Teachers Association of New York State (STANYS) Fall 2016 Conference. The teachers were immediately engaged by the hands-on activity and excited about the possibility of using 3D printers for their science and technology lessons. The majority of the teachers shared with the team that most middle schools own 3D printers that often go unused since there is a lack of relevant lessons that make use of them.

The SolCycle activity and lesson plan are now part of the Lending Library and available for teachers to request or make for their own classrooms. You can check it out here:



Submitted by: Eva Luna, CHESS, Cornell University