Real World Problem: Folding Table Part One

Can we cultivate a design disposition in kids using 3d rendering programs and 3d printers?  Sure.  Can we develop those skills AND solve a real problem?  Maybe!

True story: I was rolling a table through the halls of our school when I hit a bump.  The table collapsed and sent 3 expensive laptops to the earth.  Fortunately, the angle of impact was just right, so the laptops slid off and down the hallway with no visible damage.  This was lucky, but this was also a problem.  A real world-problem to be solved!

Here is a video that I recreated with the same table and some stunt computers:

Students initially suggested I just buy better tables, which makes sense.  I pretended I had no budget for that and we had to fix it ourselves using only our creativity, Autodesk’s TinkerCad, a MakerBot Replicator Mini, and some hope.

Students paired up, watched this video, and physically examined the table.  They then used measuring tools to brainstorm, design, 3d print and eventually test their solutions.  We use the engineering/design process that our science teachers and this project has the Next Generation Science Standards for Engineering all over it.

They use this Google Presentation as a place to document their process.

In the next blog post we will see what they made!


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