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One of Carl Szczerski's painted 3D models.

A sample of Carl Szczerski’s painted 3D models on display at the recent 3K Science Spark Pitch Competition from the Science Innovation Hub.

Entrepreneurial thinking in teaching and learning

Carl Szczerski creates 3D prints to support teaching and learning

June 7, 2023 — 

His first personal printer was a mid-range, home consumer model of filament printer. He had no previous experience, but was intrigued by what he saw in the miniature model painting hobby community.

“I’m entirely self-taught with a healthy dose of trial and error,” Szczerski added.

His journey continued with learning 3D CAD software to modify, design and print his own models. He now actively prints on filament and resin printers, and comfortably designs his own models for various purposes.

One of those purposes is to support faculty like Dr. Joy Stacey in Biological Sciences. Dr. Stacey teaches chordate and invertebrate labs and was intrigued about the potential of 3D printers in her teaching lab.

Dr. Stacey and Szczerski worked together to find high quality scans in public databases and then Szczerski assisted with editing the models to make them ready for printing. They targeted particular skulls that students were having the most trouble with learning. Dr. Stacey then devised a learning activity where students could paint their models as they learned to identify specific bones.

“Acquiring original bones or plastic copies is fairly expensive – usually a couple of hundred dollars each. But with 3D printing, we can get materials at less than two dollars per skull. That makes it feasible even for students to take them home as a good quality study aid,” Szczerski noted.  

Szczerski has also supported Dr. Carla Zelmer in Biological Sicences, who teaches flowering and non-flowering plants, by providing affordable models of plant cell organization. The models were enlarged and simplified in several ways to allows students a better visualization of the material.

Szczerski’s simple 3D printed add-ons also support the Buller Greenhouse with things like plant watering and bait traps to capture slugs.

Szczerski’s advice to others: “I think the best way to live life has always been to follow your passions and find ways to explore your own individuality and creativity. One never quite knows where things will go and many additional opportunities may be out there if you just start.”

Gallery of Carl Szczerski’s painted 3D models on display at the recent 3K Science Spark Pitch Competition from the Science Innovation Hub. Photo Credit: Mike Latschislaw

Get entrepreneurial at UM

For more information about how to bring an entrepreneurial mindset into your learning environment, get in touch with Janine Carmichael, Faculty Specialist: Entrepreneurship.

To spark your entrepreneurial spirit, visit The Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship.

To move your invention or research into a practical application, visit Partnerships and Innovation.

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