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From Consumption to Creation: Maker-Centered 3D Modeling for Young Learners

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Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Ivna Rolim  
Ludmila Vieira  

Are young learners ready to explore the world of 3D modelling and bring their imagination to fruition? We believe they are! In this session, we will share approaches that will inspire young learners to create solutions to real-life problems by fostering sensitivity to design and sense of community.

Audience: Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
Topic: Maker activities & programs
Grade level: PK-5
Subject area: ESL, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.
  • Create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

By the end of this session participants will be able to apply Maker-centered Thinking Routines (Harvard Graduate School of Education, Project Zero - PZ) to help young learners understand and use 3D-modelling and printing softwares to design artefacts that meet real-life needs.
Learning about digital tools through thinking routines, in opposition to direct instruction, helps students develop more than just digital skills. The main outcome of this approach is maker empowerment, defined by PZ as "a sensitivity to the designed dimensions of objects and systems, along with the inclination and capacity to shape one’s world through building, tinkering, re/designing, or hacking". In this sense, technological skills such as 3D designing are acquired as a manifestation of citizenship and social engagement.
In this session, presenters will share examples of 3D design challenges carried out with k-5 students in Brazil that started from community problems. They include the excessive amount of trash produced during the pandemic, the unavailability of miscellaneous items such face mask clips and personalised kitchen utensils in stores or even toys missing parts. Presenters will then introduce 3D modelling on Tinkercad - a free child-friendly app and website - as a technology intervention to those issues and share ideas on how to facilitate the learning of this skill with Thinking Routines. This pedagogical approach will help educators scaffold the 3D printing, fast-prototyping, moving and stacking shapes on a 3D canvas, making cutouts, extruding drawings to 3D, exporting a final functional product.
The session also approaches the importance of sharing designs with the global Maker community on open-source databases such as Thingiverse and how to help young learners find 3D designs and tinker with them.


In this session, the audience will participate in an experiential learning moment followed by a group reflection and discussion. Finally, presenters will share their experiences as educators on the use of thinking routines to foster maker dispositional thinking and 3D modelling skills in young learners. The session will be divided as follows:

1. Participants will be invited to take part in modelling challenges in which they have to work collaboratively using thinking routines to come up with sustainable solutions for real-life problems. (15 minutes)

2. The audience will then reflect upon 2 aspects of their learning experience. The first being the usefulness of thinking routines as the basis for the instructional design to learn 3D printing skills. And the second being the role of thinking routines in encouraging young learners to find opportunities to use these skills to create real-life solutions that meet their community needs. (10 minutes)

3. As a whole group discussion, participants share their perceptions and ideas regarding the use of thinking routines as aforementioned. (10 minutes)

4. Presenters share their experience using thinking routines to foster maker dispositional thinking in young Brazilian learners and as means to develop 3D modelling skills to create real-life solutions for various social contexts. (20 minutes)

5. Participants ask questions and contribute to expand the use of thinking routines. (5 minutes)

Supporting research

More [+]


Ivna Rolim, Eklod Educação
Ludmila Vieira, Eklod Educação

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