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Printing the Past: A Hands-on Workshop for STEP Students Integrating Classical Studies with 3D-Printing Technology

Angela Commito and Sean Tennant

Union College

At Ancient MakerSpaces we wish to present the results of a hands-on workshop on the application of 3D printing in classical studies we designed for public school students in grades 7-12 who are enrolled in Union College’s Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP).  The STEP students come from urban communities and economically-disadvantaged households, and many are from groups historically underrepresented in both the STEM fields and in classical studies.  Working with a set of 3D-printed facsimiles of ancient Greek ceramic vessels, students determine how the vessels were used in antiquity and how 3D-printed facsimiles add a new dimension to our understanding of ancient artifacts.  They learn the ancient Greek terms associated with the various vessel shapes and the sociocultural contexts of the creation and use of these objects in ancient daily life.  By integrating classical studies with 3D-printing technology, our goal is to excite and encourage the workshop participants to see the classical world as an area of discovery that can be deeply integrated with technologies normally associated only with STEM fields.  The workshop will be designed as a hands-on learning experience in which cutting-edge technology is presented seamlessly with the study of ancient Greek language and sociocultural context.  Each student will also select a miniature 3D-printed vessel to bring home, with the aim of integrating 3D-printing technology and classical studies into their own lives in the manner they choose, thereby giving them agency in their interaction with both components of this project: technology and classical studies.

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