Kindergarten Blokify Creations Becoming Reality with Makerbot

blokify printing (1)Today, Mrs. Kelly Hocking brought her Kindergarten class to the library to begin 3D printing their creations that they made with the Blokify app on iPad.  It has been a few weeks since they made their creations.  After they left the creating session, 5th graders helped email all of the files to me.  We put them into Makerware, made them smaller, and sliced the files for 3D printing.  All of the files went onto the SD card to be ready to print.

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Today, they all sat in front of the 3D printer.  We spent some time talking about what a 3D printer is and looked at some of the creations it had made.  We also talked about the safety of not touching the printer while it is printing due to the heat and the fact that bumping the printer could mess up the print.

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Finally, we cued up a file on the screen and the student came up to press the M to start the print.

They loved watching the build plate raise to the top.  There were even oohs and ahhhs as the printer was heating.  Once the printing started, we let one student at a time come up to peek inside and see what 3D printing looks like.  They were all amazed.

Mrs. Hocking is working with all of these students to stretch their imaginations.  They are going on a virtual field trip to Boston over the next few weeks and along the way they are virtually stopping in each state and learning something about that state along the way.  For example, next week we will read the book Suryia and Roscoe: The True Story of an Unlikely Friendship and visit the sanctuary where they live in Myrtle Beach South Carolina.  Mrs. Hocking is having the class imagine packing a virtual suitcase that they can put anything in.  Today, they want to add the Makerbot to their suitcase.

These students are also planning out imaginary gardens in their minds.  Their Blokify creations will eventually find a spot in those imaginary gardens and students will imagine what it’s like to go inside of their Blokify creations.  They will create art and stories to accompany these 3D printed sculptures in their imaginary gardens.  I always love the imagination and creativity that Mrs. Hocking brings to life in her classroom.

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Over the next few days, the Blokify creations will continue to be printed until all 21 are done.  Then, the imagination and creating of stories will begin.

 

Letting Kindergarten Imagination Soar with Blokify and Makerbot

blokify (4)Mrs. Kelly Hocking’s Kindergarten class just started a collaborative project with the art teacher and the media center.  Her class has been very inquisitive about structures and sculptures and what it’s like to be inside of those structures.  For example, they’ve looked closely at the Statue of Liberty and they are fascinated with the idea of going inside and looking out from the crown.  In art, Mrs. Foretich is introducing maquette sculpture which is a small scale model of a rough draft or unfinished work.  It allows them to test how different shapes are put together without making a full sculpture.

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These 2 ideas started coming together in a project.  Mrs. Hocking started exploring Minecraft at home and thinking about how worlds and structures were created in the virtual world.  Then she started wondering how this might flow into the discussions her class was already having about imagining and going inside of structures.  This is when we started talking about Blokify as a tool for putting together blocks to create a larger structure.

Mrs. Kelly, the art teacher, and I all met to brainstorm.  Students will eventually build a larger sculpture out of shapes in art.  Their art standard is:

GPS: Demonstrates that shapes can be put together to make new shapes or forms.

Their essential question is:

How do artists build Sculptures?

We decided that we would start our journey with Blokify.  Blokify is a free iPad app that allows students to put a variety of blocks together to build pretty much anything and then 3D print that shape.  The files can be emailed for download into your own software for 3D printing conversion.

We decided that Blokify would be the kickoff to this larger project.  In the library, Mrs. Foretich, our art teacher, showed students some examples of maquettes and talked about how artists might make a rough draft of a larger sculpture to test some things out before making a larger sculpture.  Then, we showed students some images from Blokify’s facebook page to give students the idea that you don’t just have to make a box in Blokify.

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After that, students went straight to iPads and jumped in.  We didn’t spend a lot of time “teaching” them how to use the app.  Instead, we let them explore.  We also didn’t tell them what to build because we wanted them to have permission to imagine and dream as they built.  Mrs. Foretch and I walked around to tables and showed students some tips as they worked.  For example, if you hold your finger on a block it will disappear.  If you pinch the screen, you can zoom in and out.

Two of my enrichment cluster students came to support students as they worked, too.  Monica, 5th grader, and Grant, 3rd grader, were naturals at nudging Kindergarten students along without doing the work for them.  We were almost able to have a helper at every table because of them.  I was so glad that their teachers allowed them to come and share their expertise with Kindergarten.

Some students started really being strategic about where their blocks went in their structures while others liked tapping all over the screen and seeing how it turned out.  We did question a bit if we didn’t give student enough guidance, but we ultimately decided that they really needed this time to explore.  If our prints don’t quite turn out like they hoped, then it will be a learning experience about how they might rethink their own approach to designing.

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As always, there were some wonderful moments that happened.  One moment was when  a student who we’ve all been trying to find the right learning method was thoroughly engaged.  He was so proud of the work he did, and he showed us a way to connect with him as a learner.  I  hope that this new discovery will lead to other projects and learning experiences for him in his classroom.

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After students left, I had a group of 5th grade helpers email me all of the files from the iPads.  I put each file into Makerware, resized it, and saved it onto an SD card for printing.  We will print our designs after spring break.

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Once designs are printed, Mrs. Hocking wants students to put their structures on a piece of paper and draw the rest of the setting around the structure.  From there, students will think about the inside of their structure as well as the surroundings and begin to tell a story about their creations.  We aren’t sure yet how that piece will be captured, but I’m excited about the possibility.

In art, Mrs. Foretich will continue to explore this standard by expanding what students are building.

 

 

Connecting Libraries: Using Tinkercad with Students in Van Meter, IA

Hanging out in Iowa from my kitchen!

Hanging out in Iowa from my kitchen!

I had so much fun today spending some time in Van Meter, IA from my kitchen.  Shannon Miller and her students just received their Makerbot 3D Printer from Donors Choose.  Her students are starting an Olympic project where they will be designing new symbols for the Olympics.  Students will eventually use Tinkercad for their designs.  Since this is a new tool for her students, Shannon thought it would be a good idea for us to connect and share what we’ve learned.  I had a group of 5th graders eager to share their expertise, but the GA ice and snow caused us to be out of school today.  Rather than keep her students waiting, I went ahead and shared my own learning about Tinkercad.  We plan to reconnect when we are back in school so that students can share.  I’m sure that her students will have just as much to share with mine by the time we reconnect next week.

Here’s our Google Hangout from today:

After the Hangout, I realized that I forgot to tell them an important step, so I made a quick screencast to fill in the hole I missed.  I also share with them the steps that wouldn’t screen share through hangouts.

It was wonderful to be a part of another library.  We all have expertise to share, so why not share beyond our walls.  Happy making, friends!