I am taking my instructional art card game to a new place for a moment. I’m reimagining the prompt cards into dice that can be rolled to deliver instructions. I built some prototypes in TinkerCAD and 3D printed them. I used white CPE filament for durability and they ability to recolor the plastic for finishing. I colored with markers this time. Three numbered dice are also pictured which I did not fabricate, but I didn’t feel like reinventing the wheel for those. These dice will have to work without code snippets of course, but they could be also well suited to hand drawing activities, or outdoor art activities with sidewalk-chalk.
This week I further refined my instructional art card game with a great suggestion from a classmate. Trisha thought that it would be great to make the cards into a game by making the word prompts into challenges to actually create the required code. To achieve that goal I added Scratch code snippets to the back of each card that correspond to each prompt. Players would deal out cards to create an art prompt, and earn points if they can program the visual without looking at the code snippet. Updated cards below:
Our school year has ended and so has this year’s 3D Design & Fab Challenge at The School. I’m always revising the parts and processes of this unit each year, and (hopefully) improving it on each revision. That said, I think that this year’s crew of 5th graders have performed outstanding feats of design. Each group went through 2 – 4 design revisions, and while I would budget even more time for revisions next year, I was really happy with their work. We ended the unit with a pop-up gallery of all the student work and samples of their design documents, interviews, drawings and early prototypes. Some final products were 3D printed, few were hand-made from craft materials, and a few others were hybrids of the two. Parents and teachers came to experience the work and it was great to see the students talking about their process and their products with adults!
Unsurprisingly, we have authentic, student-designed solutions to these authentic problems that teachers posed to us many months ago. Enjoy the photos and captions below of all the student designs:
While I personally would love to share these 3D files on a hosted platform like Thingiverse or YouMagine right away, I should talk to those students first. My fifth graders are certainly under 13-years old, which means that they can’t yet have accounts on these sites based on privacy concerns, but more importantly I never got their permission to share their work for them. 🙂
One of my concerns about this project was that I never truly touched on issues of IP, CC licensing, or the Open Source movement with the students. A new goal for me next year is to bring these issues to them, and to encourage them to find a way to share their designs with the world via these Open Source platforms. For now, we’ll all have to enjoy these photos until a future share date!
We’re deep in the trenches and doing the hard work that engineers, designers and inventors must do for the next few weeks. Something I thought to briefly touch on again this week before letting the student work independently was to have a quick discussion of two engineering design cycle diagrams. I handed out both, students read and talked to each other about similarities and differences, and then we had a brief discussion and I talked about how they will go through the cycle a few times, just like professional engineers do.
Enjoy these two diagrams. They are my favorite ones for sharing with students.
This week our 3D design & fabrication jobs were announced to the 5th graders. [You can read this year’s list here] Each year I make a request to the faculty and staff at our school for authentic design challenge proposals. Students will then work towards making their own solutions these problems right here in our building. I usually prefer challenges that are not too physically “big” so that the students can manage the crafting portion of these challenges. For example, it’s more appropriate on “scissor storage” or “door stops” rather than “auditorium lighting”.
After reviewing the list of challenges, students are encouraged to form teams and apply their new engineering design and 3D modeling skills toward solving these authentic problems. They must conduct themselves through all phases of the design cycle that we have studied, questioning, researching, brainstorming, prototyping and revising their solutions until the end of the school year. We prototype with high and low tech materials, like craft sticks, cardboard, power tools and 3D printers.
Here’s to happy inventing!