Drafting / Design / CAD


3-D Visualization Practice with Cube Puzzles
Solving Piet Hein’s cube puzzles gives students great experience with the 3-D visualization skills essential to success with drafting, CAD and engineering graphics.
Mini project, only $2.95.


Applied Mathematics
Architects, designers, engineers and technicians routinely make mathematical calculations for construction and production. The activities provided here give students experience in calculating perimeter, circumference, area and volume.


Astigmatism Diagnosis Graphic
In this project, students use either mechanical drawing equipment or a CAD system to create a graphic design that can be used to test for visual astigmatism.


Biotechnology: Ergonomics
The art of designing products to better fit the people who use them is examined in this project by having students make a mannequin, study its range of motion, and design a chair that best conforms to the mannequin’s body.


Building a Putt-Putt Golf Obstacle
Enjoyable, low-cost activity engages middle school students. Incorporates design, teamwork, engineering, and problem solving, with an emphasis on power transmission.


Candy Bar Activity Teaches CAD, Math, and Design
Students develop, design, and produce candy bars and wrappers, moving from concept through production. Includes step-by-step student directions.


Cardboard Boat Challenge
Students research, design, construct, and race cardboard boats, gaining substantial math, science, communication, and engineering experience. Includes key definitions, detailed student instructions, 13 pages of student work sheets, plus an evaluation sheet.


Cardboard Chair Design
A five-day unit for middle schoolers, this project teaches kids how to apply different modeling techniques, use several modeling materials, apply modeling as a part of the design process, work in small groups and other skills in technology and critical thinking.


Cereal Box Design
This interdisciplinary activity introduces students to graphic design; basic drawing; sketching and rendering; measuring area, volume and weight; oral and written technical communication; applied problem solving; marketing; consumer research; environmental education; recycling; and considerations of form, function, and aesthetics.


CNC Activity Introduces the Flatbed Router
Create awesome widgets. From sketching to CAD to CNC routing. This activity for middle school through college levels shows students the unlimited possibilities and applications of the CNC flatbed router.


Collapsible Structures
Students learn the principles of how collapsible structures are designed and built. The project culminates with students building a model module of the International Space Station that will fit inside the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle.


Creating a Coin Sorter
With simple materials (cloth, paper plates, plastic cups, tape, thread, etc.), students design and construct a device to sort pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. Mini project, only $2.95.


Crumple Zones
Teach your students how energy is dissipated by crash barriers and product packaging in ways that keep people safe and products unbroken. In this project, students build a freeway barrier and a vehicle to test the barrier.


Deck Construction
This project provides background on the structural elements of decks so commonly found outside today's homes, plus procedure for constructing scale model decks.


Descriptive Geometry Project
Descriptive geometry shows that engineering answers may be found two ways: by using math and by drafting an answer.
Mini project, only $2.95.


Design and Build Gumball Machines
Students get great experience with research and design, problem solving, use of jigs and fixtures, and the details of the mass production process.


Designing and Testing a Model Car Frame
I
n this activity, students explore "crash worthiness" aspects of automobile design by designing, constructing, and testing a balsa wood scale-model car frame.


Designing Machine Elements in CAD
Introduce postsecondary CAD students to elements of three-dimensional industrial design.
Mini project, only $2.95.


Designing Memorials and Monuments
Monuments and memorials inform, sooth and inspire us. As this scale-model hands-on project shows, they also can provide students with excellent experience with design.


Designing Playgrounds
Background on the many safety concerns involved in design and construction, plus a hands-on activity in which students design and construct a small-scale playground.


Drafting Challenges
From the best of the“Brain Teaser” archives, 20 problems that require students to draw the missing views in orthographic projections.


Fence Construction
The basics of planning for and building a fence, plus hands-on experience with a scale-model project.


Glider Design for Beginners
Aeronautics is a motivating subject for students and educators alike. This hands-on activity—appropriate for upper elementary or middle school students—provides an excellent introduction to airplane design and the science of aerodynamics.


Industrial Design: Packaging Design
Students develop a solution to a packaging design problem by first creating a design portfolio of sketches, then a technical drawing of the best solution, and finally the package itself using simple, inexpensive materials.


Industrial Models: A Futuristic Product
With a variety of low-cost materials (clay, cardboard, pieces of wood, components from discarded toys and devices), students develop an idea for a product, then construct a model of the product.


It’s High Time to Make Sundials
With this activity, students design a sundial in CAD, export the file to a CNC router to mill the dial’s face and then learn and apply the mathematics needed to have it accurately track time.


Landscape Architecture: Design and Problem Solving
Series of projects introduce students to a variety of issues in landscape architecture.
Projects include designing backyard retreats, planning a neighborhood community, and solving community design problems.


Landscape Architecture Digital Portfolio Project
Students get great experience with design practices, CAD, communication software applications, Internet research, digital photography and interdisciplinary content—and make the school environment more attractive. Teachers get a great project idea and a complete grading rubric to help assess student performance.


Larry Bob’s Block
Students learn how to make isometric and orthographic drawings and flat pattern layouts, then build a puzzle block using their new skills.


Lasers
Four separate activities make up this laser project. Students design and arrange the course of a laser, then learn how to draw and measure angles using protractors. Next they draw shapes and check their accuracy using a laser, and finally try their hand at laser surveying.
Mini project, only $2.95.


Manufacturing: PHD Blocks
The "pretty hard drawing" (PHD) block activities give students practice with computer-aided drafting (CAD), which is used in the manufacturing process to create working drawings of products and their subcomponents.
Mini project, only $2.95.


Materials Science
Middle schoolers learn about the basic types of materials and their properties, how to measure and safely use basic tools, and how to design and construct a prototype and final project using these materials.


Planned Community
You don’t have to look very far to find a planned community nowadays, they’re all around us. In this activity, students individually construct one piece of property, following strict covenants, that together will make up one large planned community.
Mini project, only $2.95.


Platonic Solids
Students learn to identify the five platonic solids (tetrahedron, hexahedron, octahedron, dodecahedron, icosahedron) and construct paper models. They then play a baseball board game that uses the dodecahedron-like dice.
Mini project, only $2.95.


Project Gizmo
Students learn the design process used in industry and use CAD to create appropriate packaging for products of varying shapes.


Rubrics for Drafting and Engineering Classes
Wouldn’t it be great if students knew beforehand the specific criteria on which their work will be graded? Here are rubrics for drafting and engineering that students can use to better evaluate their own performance, along with tips on how to use them.


Scale Model House
Students learn to read a blueprint and practice measuring in architectural scale, then build their own cardboard scale-model house.


Skateboard Park
Introduce middle schoolers to the concepts of potential and kinetic energy and pendulums and their periods by having them design, construct and test a skateboard park. Includes test and project evaluation questions and directions for constructing eight different skateboard park components.


Soma Cube
Work with legendary scientist Piet Hien’s Soma cube gives students experience with visualization, technical drawing, mathematics, manufacturing, research and more. Project includes background information, plus 10 hands-on, minds-on activities.


Teach Drafting Concepts with Students’ Favorite Foods
Students sometimes find some aspects of introductory drafting and design a bit boring, but you can make section and exploded views fun to learn with an activity in which they draw their favorite foods. This project appeared in the November 2010 issue of Tech Directions. It has been reformatted for easy classroom use. Mini project, only $2.95.


Tensional Integrity
Tensional integrity, or tensegrity, is covered with explanations of torque, stress, and Hooke’s Law. Once students understand the principles, they can complete three activities building structures based on what they have learned.


Using Jigs and Fixtures: A Design Brief
Introductory information on the use of jigs and fixtures in the manufacturing process, plus design of jigs and fixtures to be used in student manufacture of a Ball Drop Game.


Vacuum Cannon: A Demonstration of the Power of Atmospheric Pressure
A teacher-made and operated shop-vac-based “cannon” is used to demonstrate the principles of propulsion, then students experiment with design of their own projectiles, which the teacher can test.


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