Tag Archives: TinkerCad

Notes from @STEMteachersNYC’s “Design, Engineering, and Maker Cultures” workshop at @CUSEAS this week. #MakerEd #STEAM #STEMed

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I attended Design, Engineering and Maker Cultures this week which was hosted at Columbia University’s School of Engineering, organized by STEMteachersNYC, and led by Michael Katz and Frances Hidalgo (two volunteer teachers from the STEMteachersNYC community).

Here is the workshop’s description as per their registration page:

Interested in learning more about the engineering and design process, and how to incorporate it into your classroom? This workshop is designed to show how you can infuse engineering and design thinking into your curriculum. Drawing from the NGSS Engineering Design standards we’ll explore how students can use design and affordable makerspace technologies to ask questions and define problems; to formulate, refine, and evaluate testable questions; and design problems using models and simulations.

Throughout the workshop, participants will explore easy-to-deploy design experiences for a range of grade levels. Participants will have the chance to experience several hands-on projects like making paper circuits, while also troubleshooting strategies for setting up a Makerspace in your school and using this as a platform for curricular integration and development. Attendees will also spend time identifying areas within their curriculum that naturally lead to incorporating more creativity, innovation and collaboration. So whether you teach elementary or high school students, come learn and experience how fun and easy it can be to incorporate engineering and design in your classroom.

This was the first time this workshop has ever been offered, and I imagine the next manifestation might have less pre-activity lead-up discussions and more time for hands-on learning, group activities, and collaborative lesson brainstorming.  Here are some of my highlights from the three days:

    1. I loved meeting awesome educators from public and private schools who all have a shared interest in expanding their skillset, innovating, and sharing ideas.
    2. I worked with a group to build a prototype of a machine inspired by nature. Biomimicry is defined by the Biomimicry Institute as “an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies.” My team considered how the blue whale’s baleen might inspire an amphibious coastal Roomba-like cleaning mechanism. Our design, Blue Whale Blue Crab (or Beach Clean Baleen) also included crab-influenced claws. Ideally, this amphibious machine will travel on land and sea, filtering inorganic material and sorting it into onboard containers. Metal could be further sorted by using a magnet on the claw and a more powerful magnet onboard near the sorting bins. I was really happy with our teamwork and proud of our protoype!
    3. Gail Sestito (aka @TheRobotFairy) totally blew my mind when she shared how a student of hers demonstrated how to merge two words into a fascinating mathematical parametric 3D shape using Onshape. She then took this idea and collaborated with an English teacher for a project that physically illustrates the concept of Doublespeak from George Orwell’s 1984. For example, they made word sculptures where one view of the piece reads Truth and one view reads Lies. Or War/Peace. Or Love/Turture. Such a great project!

      Here is Gail’s awesome merging of her name and my name!

    4. Bill Miller is the Makerspace manager, and he showed us two fascinating innovation centers. First we went on a tour of the Department of Mechanical Engineering’s extensive fabrication spaces. After, Bill showed us where the new community Makerspace will be — it is transitioning from a decent sized room on the 12th floor (which I visited many moons ago) to a huge facility on the 2nd floor. The budget to revamp and outfit this newer facility was $400,000!. 💰😳 Here are some photos:

After seeing their bank of Ultimaker 3D printers, I offered to connect Bill to @LizArum, Ultimaker’s Community Manager and an incredibly knowledgeable, generous, and brilliant friend. Yay for connecting people who may end up further collaborating in some capacity! Here are two upcoming and worthwhile events Liz is organizing:

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Making diverse hairstyles and heads of famous people to fit on @LEGO_Group Minifig bodies at the “0 Things” Hackathon facilitated by @DesignMakeTeach. @construct3dconf #construct3d2018 #MakerEd #STEAM

At the first Construct3D conference, Josh Ajima offered a Pecha Kucha talk entitled, 0 Things. Josh “shared his and his students’ experiences of being able to find a multitude of Yoda imagery online, but no 3D models that represented his or his students’ culture or heritage. Josh pointed out that when he searched Thingiverse, a popular 3D printing repository with over 2 million things, he found 0 relevant models for instructional topics. He then challenged the audience to view each empty search as an opportunity, and to use the power of 0 things as inspiration to create powerful, engaging designs and projects.” Here’s a video of Josh’s explaining 0 Things:

At this year’s Construct3D conference, Josh announced a 0 Things Hackathon where attendees gathered to determine searches which yielded no results. Some suggested topics included: Historical figures, Ojibwa Tribe, Monterey Bay wildlife, e-scooter accessories, Jade Museum artifacts (Costa Rica), CS concept manipulations, Virginia peoples, Madres de Plaza de Mayo, female artists, Indus River Valley stamps, “Engineer as Identity”, Women’s issues, Afro centric images, and more.

My first idea for the “0 Things” Hackathon was to create diverse hairstyles and accessories for Minifig heads — braids, dreadlocks, hijab, different curls — so everyone can feel like they’re represented when assembling LEGO figures. I was inspired by an 8th grade student last year. A paper doll outline in the shape of a girl with straight hair was meant to be decorated/personalized by every girl at our school to celebrate our community. This student noticed the lack of diverse hairstyles and quickly made adaptations on her iPad with many options of hair textures and styles to more accurately reflect our population.

A Google search for LEGO Minifig hair confirmed my expectations, and I believe this would be a great project for a class to explore. However, it’s a challenge to draw hair, and we had limited time last night, so my second idea was to gather 3D files of heads of influential figures that could top LEGO Minifig bodies. I located a 3D file of Harriet Tubman’s head and adapted it in Tinkercad, erasing the shoulders, adding a neck column, and inserting a hole at the base that should fit upon the neck peg of a LEGO Minifig torso. My published adaptation is here:

Some tweets about yesterday’s Hackathon are included below:

 

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Check out @Tinkercad’s toolbar addition of #Scribble!

Check out Tinkercad‘s toolbar addition of Scribble! Here’s a link to their blog post with more information about Scribble:
https://blog.tinkercad.com/2018/04/26/introducing-scribble-the-ultimate-tinkercad-personalization-tool/

I love the freedom of hand-drawing! If there were a Tinkercad iPad app, I could see using this for next year’s Class II Lenape buzzer toy project. On the iPad, Morphi or Doodle3D are options for finger-sketching designs.

I imagine Scribble may include more features eventually, like maybe a “fill” option? Without a quick way to fill an outline of a shape, I manually used the Brush Tool (as if I were drawing with crayons on paper), and then use the Eraser Tool to make the holes in my first design below. For my second attempt, I used the Shape Tool and Shape Eraser Tool. It was a little weird at first, but then I started to get the hang of it. I’d really like the option of sketching an outline and filling it in. Yes, I’m repeating myself.Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 9.38.06 AM.pngscreen-shot-2018-04-27-at-10-13-46-am.png

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