Elevate Learning with Tinkercad and MakerBot in the Classroom!


Your imagination has a home in Tinkercad. This 3D world of fun shapes and colors allows you to create and print whatever you want– it’s all up to you. Tinkercad makes it easy for students to design accurate 3D models, whether they’re starting from scratch with their own ideas, browsing through Tinkercad’s community designs, or importing a model from Thingiverse. Dedicated to your students’ success, MakerBot provides these 3D printing resources to enhance STEAM learning and elevate creativity in your classroom.

After learning Tinkercad’s fundamentals, invite students to show you what they’ve learned with a challenge from MakerBot in the Classroom: the Make a Country Project. This project helps elementary school students explore geography and regional climates. Students use Tinkercad to design tiles that will join together to make a country. Each tile should represent water, land, mountains, and forest areas. They’ll have to create landscapes that resemble these features. Read on to learn how these essential Tinkercad lessons can come in handy for the Make a Country Project.

Tinkercad’s tutorial is filled with lessons that teach you how to maneuver through the program with ease. You’ll need these lessons to make models that resemble geographical features for these tiles.

Lesson #1: Learning the Moves

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In this first lesson, Tinkercad asks you to drag the model to the area outlined in orange. Once this is completed, you’ve successfully dragged and dropped your first 3D model.

Try It: Make a Tree!

Dragging and dropping makes design work a breeze. During the project, students must make trees for their forest tiles. Begin by locating a category in your sidebar menu called Shape Generators. Once there, open the Community subcategory and locate the terrain file. This will be your terrain tile. To create a tree that you can put on your tile, use the cylinder primitive to make a tree trunk and a cone primitive to make a tree top. To assemble the tree, you’ll have to drag the cone on top of the cylinder, align the structures using the Align tool, and then select Group to merge them together to create your tree. Then drag the tree onto your terrain tile.


Lesson #2: Camera Controls 

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Here, Tinkercad asks you to look around the workplane and zoom. Once students look around the model, they’ll see a special 3D figure hiding behind the curtain. (Hint: He’s a Rock n’ Roll legend!)

Try It: Design a Water Tile

The camera controls help to ensure the accuracy of your models. For the project, you’ll have to design bodies of water for your country. You’ll start by dragging a terrain file onto your workplane. Then, select the tile and use the Color option to give it a shade of blue. Students can inspect the tile to make sure it actually looks like water. You’ll need to use the camera controls to view and zoom into the tile from varying angles. This will help to make sure that it’s features look realistic enough.


Lesson #3: Creating Holes

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In the Creating Holes lesson, you’re given a tool that needs a hole on its left side. Using a hexagonal prism shape, you can transform this object into a wrench.

Try It: Design a Mountain Tile

The Hole tool will help you combine models and customize objects. The hole tool will come in handy when building a mountain tile. To complete this model, you’ll have to merge a terrain tile with a base landscape tile to create mountain ranges. To create natural-looking ranges, the mountains will need to extend below the base tile. This is where the Hole tool comes in! You’ll use the Hole Tool to select and delete the extraneous land.




Lesson #4: Scale, Copy, & Paste

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In this lesson, you’ll learn how easy it is to size, copy, and paste shapes onto your workplane.

Try It: Design a Forest Tile

You’ll get plenty of scaling, copying, and pasting experience when creating forest tiles for the project. Remember that tree you created? You’ll have fun selecting it, dragging it onto a terrain tile, and then making it the size you want. To make a forest, you’ll have to copy and paste that tree a few times so that you’ll have multiple trees on your terrain tile. To give each tree its own look, give each one its own size and shape.


Lesson #5: Key Ring, Letters!

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Learn how to customize a model in the key ring lesson. Use copy, paste, and sizing to order and format the letters on the keychain.

Try It: Make a Region

When you’re ready to begin piecing together regions of your country, you can join your tiles together –just like the letters on the keychain. Even if you need to print the mountain, land, and water tiles separately, there could still be regions that you might want to print together. For example, large bodies of water or big patches of forest might need four tiles in a row. You can customize specific tiles to have more trees or less, or paste the tiles to make large or small areas of land. This could work as a mini region that you can fit within your larger 3D model.


Lesson #6: Die on the Workplane

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Here, you’ll learn to move the workplane to place numbers on the die provided. It’s blank, so you’ll have to scale the numbers so that they fit in different spaces on the die.

Try It: Mix Up Your Mountains

Since you’re editing what’s on top of the tile for the project, you won’t need to move your workplane. However, you could use what you’ve learned about scaling the numbers on the die to help you with sizing your mountains. Click to scale some mountains higher than others to create dramatic ranges. Use additional terrain tiles to create a mountain range with lots of peaks and dips. MakerBot in the Classroom recommends that you limit the height of the base tile to 3 mm, and the height of your mountain to 15 mm.


Lesson #7: Mine Craft Party Glasses

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It’s time to design a cool pair of party glasses. Scale and copy boxes using your alt button to create the rims of these fun looking spectacles.

Try It: Make a World Map

To take this project to the next level, ask the class to create a world map. To start, split the class into groups, and give each group a country to make. Instead of giving your final group a country, you can ask them to help piece together all of the countries on the map. This group will need to make huge bodies of water to represent the ocean surrounding each country. Don’t forget to use the alt button trick to make large blocks of water for this task!

For more fun classroom activities that use Tinkercad, explore projects on the MakerBot Learning page and or download your free copy of MakerBot in the Classroom today!