How I Use It
We used this with our 4th and 5th graders to design an artifact from their creative story and to learn about 3D printing. It was the first time for many of them. We gave a basic overview of the program, discussed the x/y/z axises, and showed how dropping below the surface plan will not print correctly. It was a true inquiry-based project, as we all learned as we played around with it, and our designs improved accordingly. Students love the process and were teaching each other. Beyond this project, our students have used it to design mobile toys, battery holders, and various other creations extending from class content.
TinkerCad is a great introduction to CAD and 3D printing. It works well with the Ultimaker 3D printer. I see this as a more upper elementary and middle school learning platform, and would encourage all students to try and create something. Learning by doing! This is also nice because it is free. The only challenge was the age level. It does not allow you to have an account until you are 13. To work around this, we created a class account and all the students used that account to create. It was a little chaotic to navigate all the designs within the account, but we were thankful everyone had a chance to design and work with the program.