Understanding where Nemo lives. By Ava Grace MacCormack
I am a fifth class student at Scoil Mhuire Na Trocaire Ardee. Our school is part of the Green-Schools programme for schools in Ireland and I am proud to say that we have 9 Green Flags! I am the secretary of the school’s Green Schools committee and we aim to promote environmentally focused activities in our school. This year we are focused on Global Citizenship Marine Environment – it is the eighth theme of the Green-Schools programme. We will be identifying the threats to Marine Environment with a particular focus on Marine Litter.
As part of this programme our fourth class girls are undertaking a project on the acidification of our oceans. My mammy, Deirdre MacCormack, who works for Mcor Technologies recently came in to talk to fourth class and the Green Schools committee about how 3D printing is helping to understand marine life better and in helping to combat the negative effects of carbon pollution. Perhaps a better way to put it, understanding where Nemo lives!
As soon as the girls seen the 3D printed models they got very excited – you could really see how 3D printing could bring so many subjects to life! From busts of Donald and Hillary to GIS maps, skulls, 3D photograph – the whole class were very engaged and there were many questions. And one girl said, “did you know that Donald Trump does not believe in global warming!”
Our school principal, Deirdre Sweeney, introduced my mammy to the class and she started to tell us about the work Mcor has done with UCD on marine life.
The marine life models were awesome and really helped us understand the colour, shape and structure of the animals – and we got to touch, hold and rotate the models. We also got to see first-hand what coral bleaching is by holding a coral model affected by unusually warm waters. We also learned about a crab called Segonzacia mesatlantica which is a deep sea species that lives areas where there are not many other animals – I felt like it might even bite me! It definitely brought these sea creatures to life and helped all the class get involved in the topic in a way that would not be possible by just looking at images on the computer.
Here I am holding the crab model and the bleached coral model
My mammy explained how the 3D data for these models were collected. Instead of removing the animals or coral from the seabed, scans were generated using photogrammetry and the final model produced using the 123D Catch app – sounded really easy and non-intrusive!
We also learned about how 3D printing is helping coral reefs. The first 3D printed coral reef was implanted in the Persian Gulf in 2012. It is made from pastel coloured sandstone with the shape and texture as real coral. It also has a neutral pH which attracts marine life back to overfished and polluted areas. The coral entices fish, algae, anemones, octopuses and crabs and free floating baby coral polyps looking for a home!
3D printed coral reef
This information was then used at a national Green Schools Conference last week. The presenters were able to talk about how 3D printing helped them understand marine life better –
Left: Photo of pupils presenting at conference
Centre: Photo of pupils speaking and a photo of “junk art” of a sandcastle they made in a Workshop there, made from plastic found on the seashore
Right: Pupils with project depicting global warming and greenhouse effects
It was great for us to learn not only about marine life environment but also about 3D printing and exciting to think about all the ways it could help us in all our subjects in school and more!
Mrs Sweeney we need a full colour 3D printer for our school!