Part of my goal in integrating ICT resources in the building is make these resources a go-to for students when they are considering ways of presenting their understanding. Think about making a poster. Teachers often choose making a poster as a way for students to present their understanding at the end of a unit. It’s a time tested assignment. But we should open things up for the students to present their understanding in a variety of ways. So I set out to make this possible by introducing Tinkercad to the grade 4 students during their unit on cities.
Tinkercad is a web based 3D drawing program. Many are using this program to create objects for 3D printing, but it is also used for 3D models. The program is extremely user friendly while still offering extensive capabilities. The designs being made with Tinkercad are amazing, creative and worth sharing. Check it out!
As a jump off, I introduced the program to the group of students. We worked together to discover the basic functions of the program, and then they were give two hours to play and create. During this time, I worked with individual students to help them figure how to build and create. The most difficult part was the handful of students who struggled simply because they did not know what to make. If given time to just play and discover, it can help to have a couple of ideas for those students who struggle getting started because they need the idea before they can click.
The assessment task for their unit on cities was to design and ‘build’ their own city. In the past, the students were asked to ‘build’ this city using paper and pencil. This time around, they were given the option to create a 3D city using Tinkercad. Though this was not the ultimate where students are, when given the task, shifting through their tools to show their understanding and picking out an online 3D design program, it was a step the right direction where students were given a choice. Hopefully, being that they were introduced to the program, the students will have that in their bag of tricks for future projects.
One thing to be aware of if you choose to use Tinkercad in your classroom. You must be 13 years old to create an account, and a single account gets bogged down if many people try to login at the same time. Students under the age of 13 can join your teacher account with a special invite code or can create an account using a parent email account.
*Student planning their cities before getting creative on Tinkercad.