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3D Modeling Workshop


Section I: Introduction


This 3D modeling workshop is designed for teenaged and adult patrons at a public library. It will take place in a classroom equipped with wifi, a projector, and laptops with the software we will be using already downloaded onto them. Participants might be familiar with 3D printing due to the Teen Open Lab in the library or the Fab Lab and Makerspaces in the community surrounding the library.  However, no previous experience is necessary or will be assumed by the instructors. The workshop will be run by myself and a librarian.



Section II: Learning Outcomes


  1. Critical Thinking: Participants will be able to conceptualize and sketch an original 3D object.

  2. Participants will be able to operate camera angles, use the toolbar to select and place shapes, change the dimensions and angles of shapes, and group shapes together in TinkerCad in order to create a design for a 3D object.

  3. Participants will be able to operate the UP! 3D printing software and accompanying printer in order to print the object they have designed.



Section III: Assessment Plan


Formative Assessment


Learning Outcome 2: Participants will be able to operate TinkerCad in order to create a 3D object. In order to assess how well students are able to operate TinkerCad, I will ask them to build a simple house with a window. I will instruct them to use the box, roof, and box hole to do this. I will walk around the room and see how the students are progressing. As I interact with each student, I will praise good efforts and continually stress patience as these are new concepts and a way of thinking. This assessment will take place after I have taught the basics of TinkerCad. This exercise will test the following basic concepts of TinkerCad:

  1. Navigating around the workplane

  2. Using the toolbar in order to select different shaped objects

  3. Placing shapes on the workplane

  4. Moving shapes

  5. Changing the dimensions of a shape

  6. Understanding a “hole”

  7. Using the “group” feature to make a new object from placed shape




Summative Assessment


Learning Outcome 3: Participants will be able to operate the UP! 3D printing software and accompanying printer in order to print the object they have designed. In order to assess if students are able to operate the UP! 3D printing software and accompanying printer, I will organize a test for knowledge. Since this workshop is happening in an a public library, where a formal test may seem out of place or possibly annoy the participants, I will attempt to make it fun.



I am going to turn the test into a trivia game. I will distribute a small piece of paper with the questions and a blank sheet to the group. As I read one question aloud at a time, I will have students write down their answers and name on piece torn from the blank sheet of paper. I will then walk around with a bag or bowl to collect the papers. Then, I will randomly select answers from the bag until I reach a correct answer. I will not read the names of those who respond incorrectly. I will repeat this for the other two questions. The three winners will get a prize, perhaps candy or $5 gift card to library cafe. I will keep everyone’s responses and go through them after the workshop has ended to further assess learning. This assessment will take place after students have been given a lesson on the 3D printer and before they are set free to finally print their design. That way, this trivia game will also serve as another learning activity. The questions and answers are provided in the appendix.



Section IV: Session Outline

  • Welcome and introduction (1 min)

    • Get to know the group

    • Go around the room and have participants share their names (3-5 mins- depending on how many participants)


  • Introduce Class Content (5 mins)

    • Explain 3D modeling

      • Build class confidence by explaining the difficulty of designing 3D objects in a 2D space

      • Pass example projects around the room

    • Explain that TinkerCad is one of a few different programs. I chose this one because:

      • Only web-based option, so work can continue at home

      • FREE

      • Has great tutorials

      • Community gallery of things to “tinker” with

      • I like it

      • Point out that the Teen Open Lab has other programs downloaded onto the laptops we are using (even some that are not free). Participants can come to the Teen Open Lab to learn, or we could have another workshop if there is enough interest.


  • TinkerCad Lesson Part 1 (instructor using projector throughout) (20 mins)

    • Walk participants through navigating to webpage and creating account (they will need an email account, which will be advertised on the posters for event) (2 mins)

    • Explain basics of camera-view operations (1 min)

    • Pause for questions

    • Demonstrate placing a shape and changing its dimensions (3 mins)

      • Explain that color of shapes doesn’t matter. Print can only be done in one color- sorry!

    • Pause for questions

    • Demonstrate how to group shapes together and make holes. (2 mins)

    • Pause for questions

    • Formative Assessment Activity: Build a House! (12 mins)

      • Go over instructions (above under "Formative Assessment")

      • Ask if there are any questions about activity

      • Walk around the room, asking students how they are doing, and assessing skills mentioned above


  • Free Design Time (12 mins)

    • Explain that students are now free to design their own projects to print

      • There will be pencils and paper available

    • Pause to see if everyone starts working. If a large number of people look unsure, suggest that we can look through some things on TinkerCad together. (Meanwhile, others can continue working on their own.)

      • If needed Use the projector to direct attention to “Gallery”. Encourage students to make something the lesson teaches, this is a great way to learn and doesn’t mean you aren’t creative (this is how I learned).

      • If needed Show students the “Gallery” on TinkerCad.

        • Gauge student need to look at a design together and pick apart how someone made it.

        • Encourage students to “tinker” with something someone else made. Please don’t print as is, make it your own!


  • 3D printer instruction. (10 mins)

    • Bring 3D printer to front of room, have students get up and move closer to it if needed

    • Explain parts of the printer (3 mins)

      • The filament is the roll of colored plastic that gets melted and shaped by the nozzle. When printing, make sure the roll is lose and there is plenty of filament free for the nozzle. If the filament gets stuck or is tight, the print will fail.

      • The nozzle acts like a hot glue gun, be careful not to touch it without gloves on.

      • The platform also gets warm. When the print is done, put gloves on, take the clicks off the corners and take the top layer of the platform off before using the spatula to free your print.

      • The light on the front blinks red and green. If it is red, the printer need to be initialized. Use the switch to the right of the light to do that. You can also go into “printer” in the UP! Software to initialize.

        • If the light is blinking rapidly, the printer is thinking, so be patient if it doesn’t start printing right away.

    • Ask the group if there are any questions.

    • Project TinkerCad on the screen again. Show students how to change the file name and download for 3D printing (2 mins)

      • Go into “Design”

      • Then into “Properties” to change the name.

      • Then into “download for 3D printing”. Select STL file.

    • Project UP! Screen on the projector. (5 mins)

      • Import object from TinkerCad.

      • Demonstrate placing and scaling object.

      • Pause for questions.

      • Initialize printer, pretend to start print, but stop it.


  • Trivia Game! (7 mins)

    • Directions above in "Summative Assessment". Questions and Answers below in "Appendix A."


  • Announce that the hour lesson is over and participants are free to leave, continue designing, or print their object. The library has allowed us to have the space for another hour. If you don’t have time to print it today, library can do it and have it ready for the patron at another day, or they can come back into the Teen Open Lab and do it themselves another day. Or they can order it through the TinkerCad website, but it is free at the library!



Appendix A: Trivia Game

In TinkerCad, what button do I click to join two shapes into one shape?

A. Hole

B. Snap Grid

C. Group

D. Design



In the 3D printing software, Up! I want to change the size of the object I want to print. I want to make it bigger. In the dropdown menu next to “scale”, which number will make my object bigger?

A. O.8

B. 1.2



Which part or parts of the 3D printer get hot and I should be careful not to touch without gloves on?

A. The light on the front.

B. The filament on the roll.

C. The nozzle.

D. The platform.

E. Both C and D.


Appendix B: Trivia Game Answers






Section V: Discussion


           Information Literacy: This workshop addresses AASL standard 1.1.1 “Learners use skills, resources, & tools to follow an inquiry-based process in seeking knowledge in curricular subjects, and make real-world connection for using this process in own life.” This is because the participants are there because they want to learn 3D modeling for their own life purposes. As they are learning to use TinkerCad, participants will hopefully be thinking about how to use the demonstrated techniques to make their own design. I have structured my lecture to teach the basic tools of TinkerCad. Then, I allow free time for participants to work on their own design. My aim in designing the class this way was for students to follow an inquiry-based process (the “inquiry” being the design they want to create) to guide their learning of the software beyond the basic techniques.  The workshop also addresses 2.1.6. “Use the writing process, media and visual literacy, and technology skills to create products that express new understanding.” Students will be using the skills learned in this workshop to create their own unique 3D object. This 3D object will be an expression of the understanding of the basic operations of TinkerCad and a 3D printer.



          Critical Thinking: This workshop encourages critical thinking because it allows student to immediately apply the knowledge they have just gained, to use the phrasing of Bloom’s Taxonomy. The TinkerCad lecture is followed immediately by free design time. The goal is for students will quickly move from knowledge, to comprehension, and then application. This is why I chose to cover only the basics in TinkerCad and allow more time for students to begin applying that information in class. Once students start working on their own in TinkerCad, my hope is that students will analyze the basic techniques taught and push them farther to synthesize a design that is different from and more complicated than the house I ask them to make in the formative assessment activity. If time allows for everyone to print their object, they may be able to move onto the evaluation level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Once the print comes out, creators are able to evaluate it. It is doesn’t come out perfectly the first time (which prints rarely do), participants will be able to evaluate if there was a problem in the design or in the printing process. The instructors are trained to help participants through this trouble-shooting process.


           Instructional Design: This session incorporates the instruction best practice of active learning. I have attempted to limit the content of the formal lectures to cover just the basics needed to start with TinkerCad and operating the 3D printer. My goal was to allow as much time for participants to do active learning as much as possible. I think that TinkerCad requires students to work in it hands-on rather than just watch a demonstration in order to really understand it. I designed my formative assessment so it would double as an active learning activity. The free design time is also meant for active learning. My hope is for students to take this time to explore the basics, ask  their instructors and peers questions, and start designing their own 3D object. Additionally, the library was kind enough to lend us the space for two whole hours. The hour after the formal teaching portion of the workshop has ended is for more active learning through continued designing in TinkerCad and then, hopefully, student involvement in the printing process.





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