PS 188 received a STEM grant during the 17-18 school year as part of the Brooklyn One Pipeline Engineering Initiative, which provides STEAM instruction to students beginning in elementary school and continuing up to high school. As part of this grant, PS 188 received 3-D printers, a laser engraving machine, and an Engineering Laptop Cart.
Students in our fifth-grade receive instruction and the use of 3-D software. They use TinkerCad to work with 3-D objects on a workplane. Students are encouraged to explore the software before completing a given task. They receive support via teacher instruction, support videos, and software embedded tutorials.
The first project students engaged in was to design an individualized keychain in TinkerCad. The files were then downloaded to STL format and printed on the 3-D printer. Student sanded the keychain lightly and then primed them and painted them with acrylic paint according to their color preference. It is expected that the class set of keychains will be completely printed the week of March 11.
Students are also engaged in a project with a partner where they a design a car from scratch using a chassis, gears, wheels, and a motor. They have tested their cars to see how far they travel and how long it takes to reach a specific distance.
Now they are charting their results in a spreadsheet software. They will also take pictures of their cars to display at the project completion. Students have begun to sketch their cars and the next step is to design the car in TinkerCad using standard units of measurement. With a partner they will design a car top cover which will then be created in TinkerCad and printed on a 3-D printer. After attaching the cover to the car, students will test their cars again to see the effect of their car cover design on speed and distance. Students will also use rubber bands on the wheels to test how friction can affect their results, thereby incorporating scientific skills and concepts.
Using an inquiry-based approach allows students to test and refine their theories based on results using the trial and error method. This project is new for both the teacher and students allowing for a “learning as you go” approach which is risk-friendly and encourages students to be creative and inquisitive.
Keychains will be displayed in a showcase for both parents and administration after which students will have the chance to take them home. The next project will include students using the engineering laptops to learn other 3-D software such as Fusion 360 and Auto Cad. It is expected that students will continue these skills when they advance to junior high schools, particularly those that are part of the Brooklyn One Pipeline Engineering Initiative.