Every Wednesday afternoon at 3:30, a group of fifth grade students make their way to the CRE8R space in the Remynse Elementary library. The librarian, Lesley Cano, applied for and received a Transformation through Innovation grant this year to acquire equipment for the Remynse CRE8R Club. They received computers, a 3-D printer and a Lego Robotics set.
The day that I visited, I watched the students as they began designing playground equipment using Tinkercad. This is a web based tool that students can use to design products that they can then send to a 3-D printer. Because Tinkercad is web based students worked with a variety of devices. I observed students using PC Laptops, Macbooks and even Chromebooks. Each student received a login card with his/her Google credentials as they were able to use the same credentials for Tinkercad.
Students worked in small groups as they began the design process. Some began by sketching their designs on paper while others just jumped right in to Tinkercad. At one table a group of boys were designing soccer goals and at another table girls were creating a special swing that would allow the user to lay down. The students will work on their projects for two or three weeks and then they will be printed using the 3-D printer.
Being a part of the club is teaching students skills that they can use for a lifetime. Sometimes students design something that does not work. They are learning that failure is part of the design process. When something does not work, they can analyze why and find a better design.
The students really enjoy the CRE8R space and Mrs. Cano hopes to expand the use of the it next year. I look forward to future visits to see all of the creative things that students have designed.