Tinkercad, 3D Printing, & AR Sandbox Mashup

I am always trying to mash together different apps and websites for innovative but clear and concise projects for students.  When I first heard about the AR Sandbox my mind instantly started doing just that.  I connected the dots between Tinkercad, 3D printing, and the AR Sandbox and came up with a project for 5th grade.

I collaborated with the 5th grade teacher and then we got to work. We had our student design (first on paper then in Tinkercad)  objects that could be used in the AR Sandbox.  We let students choose whether they wanted to create objects like water tower, houses, bridges, etc or if they wanted to create objects to move the sand rakes, cups, small shovels, etc.  The important part was that students were working through the design thinking process in order to create an object that could be used to teach about weather AND it had to be to scale.  (This was the really tough part for 5th graders.)

Once students were finished designing their objects they then downloaded the .stl file and emailed it to me so we could print out a prototype. This part of the project was a huge learning process for students because not every design they printed came out to scale OR printed correctly at all.  (This was also the really tough  part for me because although I could tell upfront if the object was going to print to scale, I wanted the students to realize it on their own. So  instead of telling them it wasn’t going to work, we printed each object and stopped the print when it started to mess up or when the students could tell it was not to scale. Then the students went back to the drawing board and modified their work.

When the day came for the AR Sandbox lessons, the 5th graders used their 3D printed objects to teach younger students about weather.  It was amazing to see this project come full circle and end with students being leaders and teaching others.  Because in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?


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