Unlike most students at tinker time, Aarav (not his real name) didn't work with popsicle sticks, cardboard and glue. He brought a laptop computer from his fourth-grade classroom and puttered around with the Tinkercad 3-D design application. He typically sat across the room from me and his body blocked the screen most of the time. I could see enough to see what site he was on, but not enough to see details. I figure he was stacking cylinders on boxes and topping them with spheres, or something like that.
One day, he walked over and showed me the open laptop. The beautifully designed and detailed object was amazing. I assumed that one of his parents was using it as an example to teach him what could be done in 3-D design. Something he could aspire to.
"Cool, who built that?" I said. "I did," he replied.
Frankly, I thought he was lying. I asked if his father had helped him. Nope. "Not even a little?" Nope.
I asked him details about how certain parts fit together. He knew.
"Can I print it?" he asked.
Now what do I do? Other students had come to me with similar requests and I refused them, telling them that we only printed class projects. Yet here was a kid with a passion and talent. I was darned if I would let a policy (even my policy) keep me from encouraging the heck out of him.
When he brought me another design, a completely unflyable, but artistically gorgeous aircraft, I transferred the file to my laptop and asked him what color of printer filament he preferred.
Aarav will now be an integral member of the Mouse Squad's project to create a presentation to teach our teachers about Tinkercad.