Prototype Problem Solving Activities Increasing Creative Learning Opportunities Using Computer Modeling and 3D Printing

  • Antonia SzymanskiEmail author
Part of the Mathematics Education in the Digital Era book series (MEDE, volume 10)


This chapter explores the use of Prototype Problem-Solving Activities and 3D printing (PPSA) as a curricular tool to develop mathematical understanding, creativity, and technological literacy. Prototype Problem Solving Activities (PPSA) are teaching and learning activities that have been designed for students to create artifacts that demonstrate their understanding and to find unique solutions to authentic problems. They represent an outgrowth of the maker movement and attempt to involve students in authentic problem-solving exploration. The thesis of this chapter is that by using PPSA as a teaching strategy teachers can (1) provide students with opportunities to develop mathematical and creative thinking, (2) encourage students who may not perceive themselves as talented in mathematics by providing new ways in which to demonstrate mathematical thinking, and (3) use authentic problems and interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving that simulates real-life behavior by practitioners in the STEM fields. PPSA emphasizes communication and problem solving which are two principles that are stressed in education and by business leaders as being critical for life-long success. A description is provided of the creative processes that are nurtured through the use of PPSA, as well as the instructional design principles, and specific connections to technological literacy that moves students beyond being mere consumers of information to generating ideas and reflecting on thinking. The use of authentic problems requiring a generation of prototype products allows learners to self-assess and reflect on their understanding. The process of using PPSA allows the students to develop higher order thinking skills of analysis and synthesis in their mathematical understanding.


Problem-based learning 3D printing 3D modeling Creativity Prototypes 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Kentucky UniversityBowling GreenUSA

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