At an intermediate school in southwestern Pennsylvania, a classroom is set up like few others. On the floor, in tape, is a grid with an X and a Y axis, but with an added twist. A piece of string has been hung vertically in the middle of the room as the 3rd axis – the Z axis.
Using the entire classroom as a coordinate plane, students measure and plot their desks, pencil sharpeners, and the trash can according to where they are in space.
Students became more comfortable with spatial reasoning and math skills (typically abstract themes) from these hands-on activities and the learning translated from the lab to math and science classrooms — but the learning doesn’t stop at school.
What is BlocksCAD?
BlocksCAD is a web-based 3D modeling tool. Unlike professional and technical CAD software, it was designed to make programming and design more accessible for children. BlocksCAD helps students as young as eight foster a deeper understanding of computer science and math through an artistic design process.
What can you do with BlocksCAD?
What’s awesome about BlocksCAD is the simplicity of its interface. Students can create and manipulate 3D shapes by using a colorful menu of coding commands, called blocks. The blocks can be dragged and dropped into the design workspace, which is much easier and tidier than typing out a complex coding language. The text-based code can be exported as an STL file. Then, student projects can be fabricated with 3D printers and brought to life!
The blocks also introduce geometric and algebraic concepts. Students are immediately exposed to terms like “radius” and “height” that change the proportions of a shape, along with the movement of that shape along a XYZ coordinate axis. BlocksCAD develops computational thinking skills at a young age, so students are prepared for more advanced technologies in middle school and high school. And, it can help students gain a passion for all things STEM!
BlocksCAD is compatible with Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, and can be used on loads of different devices, including laptops, Macbooks, Chromebooks, or iPads (if you’re on the move!).
As schools figured out how to transition from in-person learning, to virtual, to hybrid and back, BlocksCAD has remained a constant resource because it can be used anywhere. Students have enjoyed using their free time at home to create and explore projects and build their math and computer science skills.Want to see BlocksCAD in action? Watch this video of how to build a robot.