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3D Design: Tessellations With Tinkercad

Change display time — Currently: Central Daylight Time (CDT) (Event time)
Location: Room 345
Experience live: All-Access Package Year-Round PD Package Virtual Lite
Watch recording: All-Access Package Year-Round PD Package Virtual Lite

Explore and create : Creation lab

Terry VanNoy  
With tessellations, students are using 3D design principles with math, art and the engineering design process. In this interactive session, we will go to the Tinkercad website and use basic tools to design shapes that can be copied and fit together like a puzzle. Fun and engaging!

Audience: Principals/head teachers, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: A USB mouse or wireless mouse is recommended but not required
The website is and is free. Teachers should create a log in account so their designs are saved. Recommended but not required.
Topic: Project-, problem- & challenge-based learning
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: Math, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process.
Related exhibitors:
MakerBot 3D Printers
, Teq

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

This activity is a model of how a teacher can take students through a design process to create tessellation pieces that can be 3D printed later. Students will learn the basic tools on the Tinkercad website to transform their shape and make copies. During the lesson, I will model how math and art design vocabulary are emphasized, and how these prototypes will be tested, redesigned and retested throughout the process.
In this interactive experience, my attendees will follow along on their own devices and will have time to explore ideas and challenges.
Success will be defined as cloning/copying the final shape and using the Tinkercad Workplane to fit them together as a puzzle.


1. Overview of tessellating shapes and the role they play in construction, art and design (10 minutes)
2. Tinkercad: creating 3D shapes from 'tiles' (5 minutes, including audience work time)
3. Using solids, holes and the duplication tool (10 minutes, including audience work time)
4. Grouping techniques and cloning (10 minutes, including audience work time)
5. Testing your design & exporting (5 minutes, including audience work time)
6. Where can we go next? Exploring extension ideas for students who are ready ... 3D Tessellations, starting with other shapes, etc.

Supporting research

Tessellations in Nature:
Rationale for Teaching Tessellations:
Tessellations and Art:
Real Life Applications:

More [+]


Terry VanNoy, OTIS for Educators

A creative and self-motivated professional development specialist with a passion for empowering teachers and administrators to make the most out of their technology tools. Terry makes the most out of his classroom and training experience to help educators make sense of classroom technology available to them and manage it with effectiveness and energy.

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