Session 105: BlocksCAD: Teach Engaging STEAM & Coding with 3D Modeling

Date: Monday, June 17 and Tuesday, June 18

Location: South Fayette Intermediate School

Grades: 3-8 

Facilitator: Jennie Yoder, Einstein's Workshop, Cambridge, MA

Learn to use the programmatic 3D design tool BlocksCAD to foster student engagement and deeper understanding of fundamental STEAM concepts. BlocksCAD is easy to learn, accessible for third grade students, yet powerful enough to teach complex concepts for high school and beyond. With BlocksCAD students code their 3D models that can be printed on any 3D printer. During the two-day session participants will learn how to code with BlocksCAD and how to use the resources available through the BlocksCAD Education interface and how to both access BlocksCAD lesson plans and create their own.

In BlocksCAD, you learn computer programming concepts by using: 

  • variables to make a design that can change sizes - like a ring where you can specify the finger radius.

  • loops to make even patterns shapes in a design - like the numbers on a clock or the steps in a staircase.

  • randomness in models - like a forest randomly generated from different types of tree shapes

  • conditional logic to add patterns to your shapes - rotate every other ring in a line to make an interlocking chain.

If you are looking for a strong mathematics connection to reinforce math concepts that are difficult to learn this is a session you must explore. BlocksCAD is a great tool to build geometrical proficiency and other math skills.  Building models is fun, so students are highly motivated to practice these skills as it enables them to make really cool stuff. Math concepts that are explored include:

  • 3D cartesian coordinates

  • positive and negative numbers

  • decimals

  • solid shapes, like cubes, spheres, and cylinders

  • geometrical transformations, like translation, rotation, reflection, and scaling

  • set operations, like union, difference, and intersection

  • arithmetic, including order of operations

Takeaways:

  • Activities to reinforce math concepts that are normally difficult to learn ​

  • Learn to teach computer programming concepts in an engaging way

  • Develop an understanding of how manufacturing and computer science intersect