Assistive Finger Tools

Students learn about joints in the body and arthritis before designing assistive finger tools

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**This lesson is part of The PrintLab Classroom lesson portal. To view details or to get access to the full portal, CLICK HERE**


In this 2-part lesson, students will design and 3D print their own assistive finger tools to help users with arthritis or a weak grip to do everyday tasks. Using finger tools can eliminate the need to grip objects, which makes them a very simple but effective device for people who struggle with their grip. The lesson begins by teaching students about the various joints in the body and how arthritis affects our joints. They will then be provided with 3D modelling skills in a video tutorial before going on to define, design and 3D print their own unique product. Enrolling in the lesson will give you complete access to the teacher training material and lesson documents. This includes content to help you prepare and deliver the lessons along with design tutorials so you become familiar with the process prior to teaching it in the classroom.

Subject Areas

The lesson can be incorporated into the study of maths, biology, design technology and computing. The material can be adapted for ages 8-15. The curriculum is aligned to NGSS, CCSS and UK National Curriculum standards. A comprehensive list of standards met is included in the lesson platform.

Learning Criteria

In this project students will:

  • develop an understanding of the range of joints in the human body
  • develop an understanding of arthritis and the effects it has on joints
  • use design-thinking and sketching skills to develop a concept for an assistive finger tool
  • use 3D modelling software to design their own assistive finger tool
  • use 3D printers to manufacture an assistive finger tool

Equipment List

Each student will require:
1 x laptop/computer with mouse and internet access to use Tinkercad software
1 x pen/pencil

1 x ≈5cm length of string

The teacher will require:
1 x 3D printer and PLA filament (http://weareprintlab.com/products)
1 x laptop/computer with mouse, internet access and slicing software (or Polar Cloud) for the 3D printer