BlocksCAD is the graphical, engaging, and effective way to teach coding, where the outcome is improved math & computer science skills.
Educator and Administrative Features:
- Create classes
- Manage your student's accounts
- Access and Edit student code
- Download student .stl files for your 3D printer
- Support from the BlocksCAD team
- See how long students spend on their designs
- Lessons provided for grades 3-12:
- Introductory lessons
- Common Core math aligned lessons
- CSTA Computer Science standards aligned lessons
- Create your own custom lessons
Example Lesson areas:
- 5th Grade: Coordinates and modules
- 6th Grade: Volume and variables
- 7th Grade: Circle area, modules, and loops
Each Lesson includes:
- Detailed teachers notes
- Student instructions or handout
- Example Solution the teacher can edit to explore the model
No programming experience? No CAD (computer-aided-design) experience? No problem!
We have resources to help you learn BlocksCAD, including:
- A series of Skills Videos on Youtube covering all basic BlocksCAD features
- An online BlocksCAD Basics course
- Professional development options for schools (both online and in-person)
In BlocksCAD, you write a computer program to describe a solid 3D model. So you can:
- use variables to make a design that can change sizes - like a ring where you can specify the finger radius.
- use loops to make even patterns shapes in a design - like the numbers on a clock or the steps in a staircase.
- use randomness in models - like a forest randomly generated from different types of tree shapes
- use conditional logic to add patterns to your shapes - rotate every other ring in a line to make an interlocking chain.
- use modules to build up your own library of shapes to use in designs.
BlocksCAD is based on the open-source programming language OpenSCAD, a powerful and popular language in the 3D maker community. BlocksCAD's block-based interface makes programming accessible to students as young as 3rd grade (8 years old), but is powerful enough to continue making sophisticated designs through high school.
BlocksCAD is a great tool to build geometrical proficiency and other math skills. Building models is fun, so students are highly motivated to practice these skills as it enables them to make really cool stuff:
- 3D cartesian coordinates
- positive and negative numbers
- solid shapes, like cubes, spheres, and cylinders
- geometrical transformations, like translation, rotation, reflection, and scaling
- set operations, like union, difference, and intersection
- arithmetic, including order of operations
Older or more experienced students can use BlocksCAD to
- use variables to create parameterized models
- plot trigonometric functions
- plot parametric functions
- learn polar coordinates
- and more!
"My students absolutely love BlocksCAD, and they now beg for time to work with the software. I have been teaching them different uses for the coding blocks incrementally, and they have taken to it like fish to water! They have designed snowflakes using transformations and variables, created mini-figures, and now that we are reading a classic book in class, The Cricket in Times Square, they are designing their very own cricket cages! Their goal is to design them, print them, and then test them with their very own live crickets."
Charlie Laurent, 4th Grade Teacher, Rocky Hill School
"My 3rd grader fell in love with 3D design at her school. It has quickly became a favorite activity at home as well. The software is perfectly adapted to kids’ world and the creation (or invention) of the things. The pursuit of new projects naturally made our daughter creating project plan first, organizing objects, applying her skills from the “smart games” and feeling that math is cool (no kidding!). I am surprised how enthusiastic my daughter is learning geometry, math, programming skills just to be able to build her new things with this application."
Alex Prozument, parent of 3rd grader