08 December 2013

A Class Without a Name

I'm really excited about a new class that will start in January. I've been debating what to call it, but so far nothing has seemed just right. I thought about calling it STEM class, but I'm not quite sold on that. Students will be building and programming LEGO robots and building and printing 3D models, so maybe some sort of construction themed name would be appropriate. Ideas?

There's no set curriculum yet, so a lot of what we will be doing is exploring. We'll be trying out lots of new software and using tools that are new to all of us, students and teachers alike. I'm fortunate enough to have our gifted teacher available to co-teach the class, so there will be plenty of one-on-one guidance available to students. We'll start with 8 fourth grade students and 8 fifth grade students. This semester will help us determine ways that all our students can use these resources. The goal, of course, is to have as many teachers and students as possible using the robots and the 3D printer, but we want to do it right. 

One part of the class will have students build and program LEGO robots. We'll have 3 LEGO WeDo kits, 3 LEGO Mindstorms Kits, and a really awesome LEGO table and storage unit to play and learn with. The other part of the class will be designing 3D models and printing them on our Makerbot Replicator2 3D printer. We'll start by exploring several different designing tools: 3dtin.com, Tinkercad.com, Sketchup, OpenSCAD, Wings3D, Scupltris, Autodesk 123D, and the open source Blender project. 

Have any suggestions for us as we start exploring?

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