How I Use It
Tinkercad is used in connection with Minecraft Lessons in which students must build a 3D model in Tinkercad before building it in Minecraft. This helps students apply the engineering and math components of their Minecraft builds. Further, Tinkercad is easily accessible as a website in which students can create a simple account (based on school email accounts), and then get to work. A diverse application that can be used in a myriad of ways in education. While I teach high school, Tinkercad also appears to be appropriate for all grade levels in encouraging digital 3D modeling and making connections to math, science, and design. A bump off lesson regarding copyright could be applied as well to demonstrate the original design of models rather than the use of already created designs.
I love the beginner lessons provided in Tinkercad (much akin to Code and Khan Academy tutorials). Tinkercad is more intuitive than SketchUp and easier to learn which is an excellent asset in educational settings since it is difficult to give up work time to learning curves. Shapes can be stretched, reshaped, copied and pasted, grouped, and varying shapes can be connected to design a new shape. A blank canvas is included as a shape generator, so individual and unique shapes can be created. Shapes can also be imported from designs created in other software, or from URL's.
Students can push the limits in Tinkercad and move beyond beginner applicability to more advanced uses.
The fact that this program directly allows for a mimic build in Minecraft creates a great connection to the game. Students can design to scale in Tinkercad applying math, technology, and visualization to relate to builds in Minecraft creating a more realistic and relevant experience. Challenges in individual or group development to design a structure that later all class members can recreate in Minecraft is a great way to add STEM skills to Minecraft play.
Outside of Minecraft, any or all students can learn STEM or STEAM skills using Tinkercad and the relevant application it can provide. Art teachers can use Tinkercad to have students model from an image or drawing. Other disciplines such as Social Studies can implement the use of Tinkercad in recreating historical or other important structures in history (i.e. bridges, dams, Capitol buildings, etc.)
Community shapes add very diverse options for other types of projects not necessarily related to building or structure design. My class has not experienced connectivity issues mentioned previously.
I strongly recommend teachers integrate Tinkercad in lessons, for small or large projects.