3D printers are rapidly appearing in maker clubs, schools, libraries, and homes. Darwin’s Treasure Chest gives kids, parents, and educators a fun way to learn about evolution and the history of life on Earth through scientifically accurate, downloadable printable models and written content.
This project is the brainchild of Chris Sloan who is working closely with Ricky Lim and Dr. Kevin Padian. Ricky is a highly experienced artist, model maker, and animator and Kevin is a well-known evolutionary biologist at UC Berkeley and past president of the National Center for Science Education.
It is no easy task to make an accurate model that will print out well on an inexpensive 3D printer! The team has spent months testing some creature designs. Now, they would like to produce, test, and distribute the models. The models will be organized by time period, starting with the first larger-than-microscopic organisms that lived 650 million years ago. The set will include sea monsters, dinosaurs, woolly mammoths, and a series of human ancestors.
Darwin’s Treasure Chest models will be great tools teachers can use to tackle misunderstandings about evolution. This type of project is also well-suited to kinesthetic learners—students who learn better by doing and making things—as well as people who are visually impaired. The name, Darwin’s Treasure Chest, reflects the teams sincere feeling that a box full of amazing animals will be treasure for the eyes and minds of kids.