Design a Self-Watering Planter

Students learn about photosynthesis before designing and 3D printing a self-watering planter

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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 creative project, students will design and 3D print a self-watering planter before growing their own classroom plants! By watching a teacher presentation, they will become familiar with the processes of photosynthesis and the advantages of self-watering planters. Students will go on to follow a tutorial video to design a basic self-watering planter. Finally, they are challenged to add certain features to the planter and customise it to make it unique! Once 3D printed, the class can experiment with different seeds and explore the optimal conditions for plant growth. 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 9-15. 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 photosynthesis and its processes
  • develop an understanding of the mechanisms and design of self-watering planters
  • use 3D modelling software to design their own self-watering planter
  • use 3D printers to manufacture a self-watering planter
  • grow their own classroom plants, exploring optimal conditions and maintenance

Equipment List

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

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

- seeds and soil (amount and type dependent on preference)