Vermont Students Model State History with 3D Printers

Students in Vermont recently took part in 3D Vermont, a competition that asks students to use 3D printers and other technology to bring their state's history to life.

Hosted by the Vermont Agency of Education and Vermont Technical College, the competition brings middle and high school students together around a giant map of the state. Students then place models of historical buildings, that they've designed and 3D printed to scale, on their appropriate locations around the map. Students often include environmental features or artifacts from inside the buildings that they've also printed or otherwise produced to put the buildings in the appropriate historical, cultural or environmental context. Students are expected to include a label or QR code on the bottom of their models that may link to websites or other resources students have created to explain the historical relevance of their buildings and line up around the competition venue to show off their research in person, as well.

"Buildings included libraries, post offices, hotels, prisons, churches, schools and homes," according to a blog post about the event. "Students had to research the site, which meant digging into primary source materials (period blueprints, journals, newspapers, letters), reading into secondary sources (books, articles, web documents), interviewing people (building owners, historians, architects), and exploring the site directly (an interesting number of students never got inside their objects)."

Students used tools such as TinkerCadSketchUp, Fusion 360 and SolidWorks, along with an array of different printers to create their models. Participants also used a range of technologies to present their research, including Google Presentations, websites, photo and primary document displays and, in one case, a virtual reality tour.

In the middle school division, this year's first place winner was a team from Castleton School. St. Albans City and Town School took second and Mater Christi Middle School came in third.

Among the high school competitors, Windsor High School took first place, Enosburg Falls High School took second and Montpelier High School won honorable mention.

More information is available at and Visit for images and video from the event.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at