For the last little while, Studio M has played host to students in a couple of Davidson’s math classes. Their goal was to create a surface in Wolfram Mathematica, then export the resultant file to STL, and bring it down to Studio M to see about getting in printed. We’ll work on a postmortem of the process later, but for now we’ve asked a few students to write up their experience.
Today’s is from Caitlin Smith in Calc III.
One thing I love about Calculus is its applicability to everyday life. In my Calculus III class, I was able to incorporate the information I had learned in class with the resources available to me on campus. We learn how to find volume, area, and even surface area using special techniques.
One of our assignments was to work with Mathematica and the 3D printers to create a shape. I wanted a very recognizable shape. By manipulating a heart function in Mathematica, Studio M successfully printed me a 3D heart. I believe that by using hands-on learning, the concepts we discuss in class become more solidified, and we remember better how to use those ideas every day when we’ve experienced it.
I believe that by using hands-on learning, the concepts we discuss in class become more solidified, and we remember better how to use those ideas every day when we’ve experienced it.
Tim Chartier asked the class to bring our shapes in one day to the lecture on surface area integrals. My shape in particular printed with the parallelogram patches on it that are needed to find the surface area, so it is a great example of how the concept can be put to practice. Ironically, I also use Mathematica in my Linear Algebra class, so there was a nice interplay between not only what I learned in Calc III and real life, but also technology that I use in another class at Davidson College.
By incorporating the technology available to me, and the great teachers and classes here at Davidson, I am able to apply what I learn to situations I might need later in my life or my job. I can see how what I am hearing in class can be used in the world around me, particularly when I have access to resources that I may encounter later on. 3D printing, mathematics software, and the use of calculus all interact in a useful, meaningful, and fun way here at Davidson College with the help of the professors and Studio M.
— Caitlin Smith