Showing posts with label Tinkercad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tinkercad. Show all posts

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Tinkering With Arduino in Tinkercad

Tinkercad is a free service that I used for the last two years to introduce my students to designing and building Arduino-powered circuits, cars, and simple machines. As I wrote back in January, Tinkercad was great for introdcuing Arduino in a pandemic. Besides the Arduino aspect, Tinkercad is also a great place to find inspiration for makerspace activities. 

Later today Tinkercad is hosting a free webinar for educators who want to learn how to get use all of what Tinkercad offers. The webinar is at 7pm ET/ 4pm PT. 

If the timing of Tinkercad's webinar doesn't work for you, don't worry. Tinkercad's YouTube channel is full of recordings of previous webinars. It also contains a great playlist of tutorials for learning about Arduino in Tinkercad

Applications for Education
My favorite benefit of using Tinkercad to introduce Arduino is that students don't risk breaking any physical products while learning important lessons about circuits. Students can use Tinkercad to learn about Ohms Law and the use of resistors without the risk of actually burning out an LED or other element of an Arduino circuit. Once they've used Tinkercad to master the basics of Arduino then they can safely move on to using physical Arduino products.

Friday, January 29, 2021

A Good Video Series for Introducing Arduino

Earlier this week I shared how I used Tinkercad to introduce my students to key concepts in Arduino design and programming. One of the supplementary materials that I posted in Google Classroom for that course is a series of introductory videos produced by Bob at I Like to Make Stuff

In a three-part series he covers the big, basic concepts of programming in general before moving into the specifics of Arduino programming. The final video in the series puts everything together for viewers. And if you're wondering what an Arduino is, Bob has that covered too.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Introducing Arduino in a Pandemic

Watching my students design and build Arduino projects is one of the things that I enjoy the most about my job. We've just gotten to the part of the school year in which I introduce my students to using Arduino. This year, because of our hybrid model of some students in class and some online at the same time, I've had to make some modifications to how I introduce Arduino and how students can work with the materials. 

Initial Introduction With Tinkercad:
Tinkercad is a service that I started using last spring when our school went to 100% online instruction. I'm using it again this year to introduce my students to key Arduino design and programming concepts. Within Tinkercad there is an Arduino simulator. With that simulator students can use virtual Arduinos with virtual breadboards and dozens of other virtual components. The simulator also includes an IDE in which students can write programs.

I strive to avoid information dumps. As Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager point out in their great book, Invent to Learn there's a tempation to explain "just one more thing" and before you know you've prattled on for twenty minutes and kids have lost interest in what could have been an exciting class. Therefore, last week I simply gave my students a quick demonstration of how to get into the simulator and then asked them to start experimenting with the code in the program for a simple blinking light. Once they figured out how to change the rate of blinking I let them pick any Arduino project they liked in Tinkercad's circuits gallery and let them make copies to dissect and discover the components and code in those projects.

The process of picking projects from Tinkercad's gallery and then dissecting those projects sparked a lot of questions from students. Some of my students had prior experience with Arduino so their questions skewed toward the programming while my students who didn't have prior experience with Arduino raised questions that skewed toward the physical components in the projects they selected. Those questions are going to be the basis for some of the conversations we have in class today (January 26th, yes, I'm writing this in the morning before class). Those questions are also influencing how I place students in breakout rooms for discussion today. 

Organizing Physical Materials
My students are in my physical classroom once per week right now (some on Tuesday and some on Friday). In the past I had students work in pairs on Arduino projects. Unfortunately, due to scheduling and health protocols I can't have students work in pairs on the physical projects this year. 

I'm fortunate to have a lot of cabinet space in my classroom. I'm giving each student their own shelf for their project materials and their own plastic storage boxes. I'm going to have students tape small, easily lost pieces like resistors that aren't currently in use to pieces of paper or to the plastic boxes in their assigned cabinets.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

How Batteries Work - And a Resource for Safely Experimenting With Circuits

From cell phones to laptops to toys we and our students rely on batteries for a lot of what we do in our daily lives. But have you ever stopped to think about how batteries actually work? Or have you asked your students to think about it? TED-Ed offers a good lesson that answers the question, "how do batteries work?"

In How Batteries Work students learn about the origins of batteries, how batteries work, the differences between disposable and rechargeable batteries, and why rechargeable batteries eventually cannot be recharged any more. Students watching the video will also see the difference between dry cell and wet cell batteries.

Applications for Education
To extend the lesson on batteries consider using TinkerCad to have students build simple circuits that are powered by batteries. TinkerCad provides an online environment in which students can do that. On TinkerCad you can create a virtual classroom  in which you can see the circuits and other designs that your students create. In fact, I use it for introducing Arduino to my freshmen before giving them the physical Arduino hardware to use. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tinker in 3D with Tinkercad

Last month I wrote about 3D Tin which allows you to build 3D models within your web browser. Over the weekend, through Kevin Jarrett, I learned about Tinkercad which does much of the same. I gave Tinkercad a try this morning and found it very easy to use because of the clear how-to lessons that Tinkercad provides to get you started. Tinkercad is also easy to use because the editing options are limited compared to what 3D Tin offers. Tinkercad provides pre-made pieces that you can assemble to build a model. You can also select a model from the public gallery and edit it in your Tinkercad account. If you create a free Tinkercad account you can save your work online. The video below provides a great introduction to Tinkercad.

Applications for Education
If I was going to introduce a new 3D modeling tool to students I would probably start with Tinkercad because it is so easy to start using compared to 3D Tin. Then if my students needed a modeling program that had more options, I would move them on to 3D Tin. Both modeling programs allow for 3D printing of the models your students design.

Both 3D Tin and Tinkercad will only function correctly in Google Chrome and the latest versions of Firefox. They will not function correctly in Safari or Internet Explorere.