We’ve all heard how play is so important for students, and yet it seems like we never are able to provide students the opportunities to actually do that. It’s understandable in many regards, given the pressures teachers feel around standardized testing, district assessments, and evaluations. So when I am able to help students be creative with technology while still ensuring curricular goals and standards are met, it’s exciting.
Across several buildings, I have been working with students using Tinkercad. Tinkercad is an online 3d design platform that’s free and really easy to use. The website is designed to allow students to quickly and easily create objects that could be downloaded and printed using a 3D printer. There are also a lot of really great tutorials and project templates for younger students at Project Ignite, too. I modified this lesson on building a house for our 3rd grade students.
At our K-3 building, our third grade students are working on a PBL unit designed to minimize their carbon footprints. Students researched alternative forms of energy and had to design a house with different types of energy sources – water power, solar panels, etc. Students drew their houses on paper and then used those “blueprints” to create a three dimensional design on Tinkercad.
Our fourth and fifth grade students are using Tinkercad to help visualize and measure cubic volume and area in different geographic shapes. They are able to quickly change the sizes of shapes and evaluate how measurements change based on adjustments in sizing. Students are focusing on how to design packaging to protect items and to minimize the amount of volume. We are using Tinkercad to practice some of those skills.