The U.S. Dept of Ed says a Classroom S.T.E.M. tool is defined as one grouping Students in a cooperative way and teaching them – in a hands-on manner – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
Using that definition, FabLab’s ModelMaker software might be the very best STEM tool for Elementary-level kids.
(1) ModelMaker combines all the Cognitive & Practical Skills needed to excel in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
>> Reasoning: Thinking about & discussing a design, arguing through problems, exercising oral skills. >> Understanding & Interpreting: Interpreting other’s ideas to establish potential solutions.
>> Manual-Dexterity: Drawing 2D ideas and using the mouse to manipulate 3D shapes and outputting structural designs to then Cut, Fold and Glue the chosen material. >> Spacial Awareness: Visualising how shapes exist in 3D space in relation to the 2D plan view. >> Working together: ModelMaker’s projects intrinsically lend themselves to working in groups and establishing compromises to ensure design success.
(2) ModelMaker teaches Students Grades 4-8 how to Think like Engineers & Designers.
ModelMaker is “3D Modeling Software” that opens childrens’ eyes to how Computers can be used to both Design and Manufacture a product.
It enables Students to design models using simple 3D shapes; it gives them a hands-on ‘design and make’ experience stimulating and growing the skills they need to succeed throughout their working life.
And, combined with the Nation’s only S.T.E.M. defined 3D-Printer, the RapManUSA,
( www.RapManUSA.com ), Students could make their prototype models out of ABS Plastic – just like modern manufacturing companies!
(3) ModelMaker teaches complex practical Math & Science Skills in a purely unique way.
Children are exposed to real Math and Science concepts in a practical ways (Volumetrics, Cartesian Coordinates, Geometry, Applied Materials Science, and more) that they can literally get their hands around.
It is wise to start designing STEM projects something very simple. A first project could consist of just two shapes, a cuboid and a wedge, to build a farmhouse. Next, build a cuboid and a cylinder of similar dimensions and then compare how much sand they'll hold. Structural integrity exercises could stem from trying different 3D-models to support objects.
Fact is, ModelMaker could be your Classroom’s
best STEM tool. Children improve their Math, Science, Engineering & Tech vocabulary & concepts by crafting design ideas into 3D-models and then seeing how they react with the world.