Since many Italian schools are equipping themselves with 3D printers and the MIUR has financed these activities with dedicated calls, we thought it would be interesting to try to design and build a portable lunatario through digital fabrication. A lunatario is a large box, in our octagonal design, with eight holes to spy inside and a small moon hanging in the center. The boys observe this canned moon lit by a torch in one of the holes. The description of the possible explorations with the lunatic are described in this article.
With this project, digital fabrication becomes useful and essential for an educational project and perhaps with the excuse of building the lunatario, strategies and skills are built both in teachers and in children which can then be reapplied in other contexts.
After printing the structure of the lunar using the prepared files, you can also print the object to be observed. If you are really a beginner we have collected here some tips if you do not know what tinkercad is and how to use it.
After having printed a small moon (or a sphere) with tinkercad or similar software, you can draw together other geometric solids or their compositions and try to observe what happens when these solids are inserted into the lunar and observed.
One of the observations we suggest is to observe with the lunatario a sphere and a disk.
We know the phases of the sphere well and actually we see those every night in the sky but what about the phases of a flat disk?
With this observation, the children will recognize with their eyes that the shape of an object can be reconstructed even without having the opportunity to observe it from all sides simultaneously and in full light.
Here the files to print the lunatario