Teaching how science, technology, engineering, art, and math work together cohesively is a difficult task, and in an ever-changing technological landscape, getting kids involved in STEAM activities can be daunting. Helping children discover the fun of STEAM is one of the main tenants behind SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids. SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids is an ecosystem of apps that makes the engineering process accessible to kids as young as four. Educators, students, and kids across the world have embraced Apps for Kids. Educators especially have been using the Classroom interface to create curriculum and shape the next generation of designers, makers, and 3D printing enthusiasts.
“SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids is just an awesome program,” said Jackie Tan, Maker Lab teacher at South Tahoe Middle School in South Lake Tahoe, CA. “I see a great opportunity to get every kid I see this year in the Maker Lab to make their first 3D print.”
After discovering SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids at the Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA, Jackie contacted SOLIDWORKS and became one of the first educators to put Classroom into practice. Today, she’s had over 300 students model and 3D print their own designs.
Jackie also started up a group called the 3D Tech Squad at her middle school, made up of students from all grade levels, who help support and maintain the Maker Carts Jackie installed around the school. Jackie has worked out a plan that incorporates Apps for Kids and 3D printing with all subjects, and the mobile 3D printers on the Maker Carts make her plan possible.
“In social studies, students will be modeling artifacts they learned about in class. In language arts, they’ll be modeling characters or other artifacts from stories they read. In math, they’ll be modeling manipulatives and games, and in science, they’ll be modeling the things they use in experiments,” she said.
Students and teachers at South Tahoe Middle School are learning how to use SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids and the 3D printers, transforming them into a community of makers.
Michael Steeves of Seattle, WA, is also using SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids. After becoming aware of an afterschool enrichment program at his daughter’s elementary school, he started the school’s only CAD and 3D printing class. Michael uses SOLDIWORKS Apps for Kids Classroom to organize his students and protect their privacy, and he’s managed to incorporate almost every app into his curriculum. He uses the Capture It app to introduce the day’s topic to the kids, teach them how to create collages, and get them invested in class.
Then he will take a concept—for example, the real world bridges that dot the Seattle city-scape and the bridge tool in Apps for Kids—and demonstrate how to create a model in Shape It. Then he will excite his students with a challenge: “Who thinks they can do better? Show me with the tools we’ve learned.” The students create their own models, style them in the Style It app, and Michael 3D prints their models with the Print It app.
“As soon as the models are 3D printed and the kids can hold them in their hands, it becomes real for them,” he said.
“When I show up at the class, I log into SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids and I have everything I need to have a successful class,” Michael said, echoing Jackie Tan’s own assessment of the software.
Both of these educators have received incredible feedback from students, fellow educators, and parents. SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids is facilitating the growth of their STEAM programs, and they encourage other parents and educators to do the same. SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids is a fun, free resource that can assist teachers who want to make a difference, and helps kids learn to love and appreciate STEAM concepts. Learn more and discover SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids today.
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