the 6 month reflection of 3Dux/design
Applied STEM Ed
3Dux/design creates an innovative product that integrates geometry and engineering concepts with hands-on creativity and design thinking.
With advances in technology, computers have become a universal tool in academics with uses ranging from online educational games to virtual classrooms and individualized lessons, Computerized education, however, is missing a critical building block in child development; humanity. Intellectually advanced students that lack social and interpersonal skills are at a distinct disadvantage when they enter the workforce and society as a whole.
High school student Ayana Klein was inspired by experiences at a summer architecture course and working at an industrial design firm where she came to appreciate that solving human-centric problems makes learning math and engineering concepts more engaging and stimulating. She and her younger brother Ethan created 3Dux/design Architectural Modeling Sets as a tool to bridge the basic sciences with creativity and design thinking.
This week, the sibling team won the prestigious CTNEXT entrepreneur accelerator grant. Competing against the likes of U Conn MBAs and Yale MDs for innovative startups in Connecticut, Ayana and Ethan are now on their way to making their product a national brand.
The sets, which contain variety of 3D printed connectors and paintable geometric cardboard forms are now used by young scholars across the states as part of a play-based learning curriculum.
Faced with prompts, students work individually or in groups to brainstorm, problem solve, experiment, fail, and ultimately succeed. The cost-effective and reusable connectors were engineered specifically to fit most single-ply cardboard so students never run out of raw material to work with and learn about creative repurposing. This also makes 3Dux/design modeling kits accessible to schools even on a tight budget.
At the most basic level, the product is ideal for school maker spaces, library media centers and in the home for open-ended creative play.
For academic settings, grade-specific lesson plans are available for more structured learning.
A sample prompt would be a preschool lesson plan where children aged 4-6 build a village. In this one hour project, students begin with a discussion of community, brainstorming on components that go into a functioning neighborhood. Children then work individually, honing fine motor skills, basic geometry knowledge, creativity, 3D spatial thinking and problem solving while building his/her own structure. They then work on communication and team building skills as they integrate individual components into a unified community.
At the Zaniac afterschool STEM and Coding Program, students were given a similar project. After collaborating and building the community with 3Dux/design modeling sets, students then integrated this activity with computer 3D technology tools by creating a virtual replica of their community on Minecraft.
At the Minds in Motion Interactive Workshop for the Gifted, in Westport, CT, 7-9 year old students were assigned as the architect to design a 100 square foot living space for a family of three. With this lesson plan, students started the task by drawing an architectural grid with a 1”-1’ ratio, then used design-thinking skills to create functional floor plan, and then built out the space, adding furniture and characters. The task required understanding geometry concepts including angles and area as well as functional and efficient use of space.
At an advanced grade level, this lesson incorporates more complex geometry and volume concepts by inclusion of 12 foot ceiling into the project.
The Academy of Aerospace and Engineering at the John Wallace Middle School in Newington, Connecticut used 3Dux/design connectors with recycled cardboard to create a model airplane. After an introductory Skype conference lead by product designer Ayana Klein, the 8th grade class worked on brainstorming and designing exercise in preparation for the upcoming invention convention. Their conclusions included an adaptation in the connector design and material use to improve aerodynamics.
As an example of higher education, NYC based institute of play hosted an engineering and team-building challenge. 5 teams of educators were asked to build a functional marble run using 3Dux/design connectors, 3Dux/design geometric cardboard shapes, recycled cardboard and scissors. After a 15 minute small group exercise, teams were then asked to work together to create one giant marble run by combining individual projects. This required a shift in mindset as originally opposing teams were asked to collaborate. After a few moments of ambivalence, teams successfully united to create a mostly functional marble run.
With the STEM to STEAM and maker movement trend, hands-on problem-based learning with tools like 3Dux/design allow for an engaging and highly stimulating interdisciplinary approach to modern education.
#STEM #STEAM #PLAY-BASED LEARNING #EDUCATION #K12 EDUCATION #entreprenuership