The Story of C.R.E.A.T.E.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Cubbies Part 2: From Need to Knowledge

A while back, I mentioned a need for storage in CREATE (You Can't Be Too Rich, Too Thin or Have Enough Storage) and the plan for the students to build it.

The Mental Hurdle

Even though some of them have lived in a three-dimensional world for more than a decade, most elementary students don't understand the depth element of drawn plans. The implied Z axis is not instinctive. They understood that our cubby units would be 70 inches high and 42 inches wide, but they didn't understand that the plans sunk down into the paper 25 inches.
The plans.
Rather than blow $300 in lumber and hardware, I had the students start with a scale-model prototype in cardboard. To shrink it down, we converted the inches to centimeters and divided that in half. That gave us a manageable 35cm-high model. (It also created a math challenge.)

Some of the teams still weren't getting the Z axis, so I built a small section of it in Tinkercad and printed-out the parts from our 3-D printer. That way, they could see and feel the way the parts looked and fit together.

3-D Z-axis mental aid.

Because the first model was just a rough guide of a portion of it, I also printed a 21-piece 6% scale model as an assembly guide. As much as I believe in the Maker ethos, we had to make all of our mistakes in cardboard.

Basic drafting, measurement unit, cardboard construction technique and practical arithmetic levels: Achieved!

Yeah, but you've still gotta pay for it

By virtue of a check from our Home and School Club and the transport help of our pick-up truck-owning 5th-grade teacher, the raw materials were in-house.

The lumber arrives.
Next up: Practicing technique with the real stuff. We still had some 3/4 and 1/2-inch MDF left over from the workbench construction, so we'll use that to practice router techniques, measuring and cutting and the "screw and glue" construction method.

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