We believe that, among other things, innovators are visionary: they imagine things that don’t yet exist. That’s part of why 3D Modeling & Printing is such a welcome member of the Galileo Summer Quest roster. By tackling an innovative technology, campers don’t just build their skills with the major’s hardware and software; they practice the core traits of an innovator and turn something intangible into a hold-in-your-hand reality.

To better understand this fascinating major, we talked to Lance Akiyama, Galileo’s science curriculum manager and the brain behind our 3D Modeling & Printing major.

Lance Akiyama

Lance Akiyama, Science Curriculum Manager @ Galileo

What do you love about this major?

This major makes 3D printing accessible to a rising 5th grader, which is one of those “we’re living in the future” moments. I love that feeling, and the faces of camper’s families when they see the cool things their kids made. 3D printing can feel like this big, complicated tech phenomenon, but we’ve found the right tools for campers so they can feel confident in what they’re doing.

What will be the most exciting thing for campers? The most challenging?

It’s pure magic (or technological advancement) to transform something that was on your screen into a real, physical object within a few hours. It’s kind of mind-blowing. However, learning how to make things that will print out successfully can be tricky. Fortunately, we use a very kid-friendly program, Tinkercad, and we just revised a few of our lessons for 2018 to better support campers to understand how to create successful 3D models.

How will campers practice the Galileo Innovation Approach in this major?

This major creates ample opportunity each day at camp to put the Innovator’s Process into action. Campers generate ideas and design by sketching their ideas on paper, then create their first draft in Tinkercad.

Then they actually get to test if their 3D model looks right by printing it out! When it’s done, they evaluate what went well, and what didn’t, then redesign their 3D model and try printing it again. And of course, they get to share all their prints with their friends and family after camp.

From envisioning something that doesn’t yet exist to reflecting on what is and isn’t working in a design, Galileo Summer Quest inspires campers to trust their own vision and create change in the world. Campers don’t just learn about 3D modeling and printing—they learn to think of themselves as innovators. That impact is profound, and we can’t wait to share it with you this summer.