3D Printed Mister Rogers Neighborhood Trolley – SCOPES-DF

Lesson Details

Age Ranges
Fab-Safety.2, Fab-Fabrication.2, Fab-Design.2

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Abigail McCune
Informal educator
Abigail McCune is an Education Consultant for the Fab Foundation. Abigail’s work encompasses managing and supporting the FF educational outreach project SCOPES-DF and the associated website, content development, engagement and outreach, and strategic program planning. She is also a STEM… Read More


In this lesson students will design a 3D model of Mister Rogers Neighborhood Trolley. We will be looking at how he took a stand against racial inequality in 1969 when he invited Officer Clemmons, a BIPOC police officer on the show, to share his pool with him. The lesson uses 3D design software and printers to produce students’ final designs. Students will discuss what they think the importance of Fred Rogers work was and how it impacts us to this day.

What You'll Need

3D Printer

3D printing filament

Computers one per student w/ Internet access


Lesson Materials

The Instructions


The instructor will introduce the episode of Mister Rogers Neighborhood that took a stand against racial inequality. Students will be asked to discuss their reaction to the video and what they think the importance of Mr. Rogers' work is.

Once you have welcomed the students, explain the history and importance of the episode and what we will be doing today.


By the end of the 1960s segregation was no longer the law in America. However, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) citizens were still not embraced as equals in public. This social segregation was seen at many community pools across the country, where white people prevented People Of Color (POC) from sharing the water with them. During the fight for civil rights, pools became a place of protest, like buses and lunch counters. In 1964, a group of Black and white protesters jumped into a segregated pool at a motel in St. Augustine, Florida. An enraged manager poured acid in the water (fortunately, the acid was diluted in the pool water and no one was injured).


This atmosphere moved Fred Rogers to take a stand against this racial inequality in an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which aired on May 9th, 1969. Mister Rogers invited Officer Clemmons, a Black police officer on the show, to join him on a hot day to cool his feet in a small wading pool. These two men broke a well known color barrier when Clemmons sat down next to Fred and placed his feet in the water.


Show students the episode clip linked here https://misterrogers.org/videos/sharing-a-swimming-pool/



The actions in this episode weren’t complex: two men cooled off their feet together in a shallow pool on a hot day. This simple encounter demonstrated that two people regardless of race could peacefully share the water. When Officer Clemmons had to leave, he used Fred’s towel to dry his feet and after Fred proceeded to use the same towel. Their casual interaction exposed the bigotry of denying BIPOC citizens access to pools, or any other place in society. They would go on to recreate this scene in a later episode in 1993.


Show this next video of actor Francois Clemmons interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObHNWh3F5fQ



Have students discuss what they think of the videos.


Step 2: Students will explore Tinkercad and start designing their Trolley.


Make sure to have a trolley model printing in the 3D printer for students to view or an example for them to hold.


Explain to students the iconic trolley from Mister Rogers Neighborhood is a symbol of the community of kindness and compassion he taught in every episode. Every person in your neighborhood, regardless of race, deserves to be treated equally and with respect. In honor of this we will be designing and making our own trolleys.




Pass out computers and have students open Tinkercad. Allow students 5-10 minutes to create and explore with limited or no guidance from the instructor.


Save the file as “STUDENT NAME” and “TROLLEY”

Have students create their own trolley design using the same four components used in the example trolley (base/wheels, seats with posts, middle rod, and roof)

Have students make sure all three main trolley parts have a square cut out that will fit the middle rod. The trolley roof square should not go the whole way through.



Once students have designed their tolleys, have them send the stl. file to Dremel DigiLab for slicing. The example here was printed with medium detail and 25% fill.


Step 3: Printing Trolley Models

With artwork finished students will now be printing their trolleys.


SAFTEY FIRST: The hot end of the 3D printer reaches around 400F (200C). To ensure student safety, it is recommended that only the instructor operate these machines.


Encourage students to choose any color for their trolley and get creative! Mister Rogers iconic red trolley is used in this example, but we are making ours for our own neighborhood!


Completed trolley designs will take time to 3D print. The instructor may want to 3D print the trolleys between classes. However, it’s important to be in the room while the machine is 3D printing for the safety of the students and machine.


Step 4: Closing


Students will assemble their trolleys and engage in an end discussion. Once trolleys are all printed, hand students their completed parts and have them assemble them.


The middle rod will slide through the base.



The seats with post will go through next.



Finally the roof will go on top!



As a group, have students share what influenced their design choices and reflect on Mister Rogers’ stand against inequality.


It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!


  • (Fab-Safety.2): I can operate equipment in a Fab Lab following safety protocols.
  • (Fab-Fabrication.2): I can develop workflows across four or more of the following: modeling softwares, programming environments, fabrication machines, electronic components, material choices, or assembly operations.
  • (Fab-Design.2): I can participate in design reviews with prepared presentation materials as well as give and receive feedback from peers.

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