Middle Schoolers Tinker With Design

In the Middle School’s Design, Modeling and Prototyping class, students have been using Tinkercad, the 3D digital design app, to brainstorm and prototype solutions to authentic design challenges.

“I enjoy how limitless the possibilities are when using Tinkercad, and how an idea can become a reality with proper thought, calculations and imagination,” Sophie Moussapour ’25 said. 

Innovation and entrepreneurship teacher Rae Johnson ’11 added, “It's an awesome digital alternative to the traditional building we might have been doing in a ‘normal’ year, so we spent more time on Tinkercad than we would have if we were able to share materials.”

While fifth and sixth grade students have learned and explored the fundamentals of the app, seventh and eight graders have focused on in-depth projects from start to finish, from initial designs, blueprint work, model designs and technical sketches to problem-solving by creating functional 3D products and floor plans for 3D printable houses.

“In all of these situations, students were practicing the habits of design thinking, beginning with the problem or opportunity and using their math, science and artistic skills to design the ideal solution,” Johnson explained.

“I believe that 3D modeling is both an art and a science, and using Tinkercad has helped me accurately represent and visualize the world in three dimensions,” Rebecca Troy ’25 shared. 

Students have honed their creative skills to design birdhouses, lanterns, everyday objects and houses. “I have learned how detailed, intricate and exact the science of engineering is, and how much effort, creativity and careful calculations go into the everyday objects we take for granted,” Moussapour explained. 

Lorelei Gary ’26 likes to experiment with different builds outside the classroom, too. “I enjoy working on Tinkercad because it doesn't have limitations. You can build whatever you want given enough time, effort and skill with tools.” 

Johnson has been impressed with students’ accomplishments as they prepare for upper school Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center courses. “We are creating a direct line from fifth to twelfth grade entrepreneurship. The ability to quickly create and present prototypes is a key skill that students will carry from year to year.”

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