TinkerMath: Rethink Common Core with 3D Design, 3D Modeling or 3D Printing

MathCommonCoreWe know that many of you are using Tinkercad in the classroom. Over the past year we have received quite a few questions about how does Tinkercad align with Common Core standards? Today we pulled together a few ways to bring 3D design, 3D modeling or 3D printing to support the Math standards. These are our initial thoughts but would love to hear more from you.

#1 Make Sense of Problems and Persevere in Solving Them

This standard is about understanding the problem, finding a way to move it forward and then get it done. By using a design thinking approach 3D modeling allows students to push themselves in solving problems. 3D printing gives students the focus to finish their models.

#2 Reason Abstractly and Quantitatively

If students are working a problem, they should be able to apply the “math work” to the situation. 3D modeling teaches students how to think. Take an example from architecture, while building a porch students need to remember that there are small parts to the big picture. One column row is formed by repeating the base column four times and the column row is repeated 6 times in the design.

#3 Construct Viable Arguments and Critique the Reasoning of Others

Students tend to communicate and collaborate while working with Tinkercad lessons or other projects. By showing students in tangible ways, it allows them to be able to talk about math. 3D modeling makes students talk to each other, hear different ideas and build a sense of teamwork.

#4 Model with Mathematics

Leveraging technology allows students and teachers to use math to solve real-world problems, organize data, and understand the world they live in. For example a class wants to build a cat house for an animal shelter and print models on a 3D printer. In order to do this, they learn a lot:

  • How to model geometrical shapes such as boxes, cylinders, cones, and spheres.
  • Geometrical transformations including translations, rotations, and scaling.
  • Set operations including intersections, unions, and set differences.

#5 Use Appropriate Tools Strategically

As adults, we don’t have anyone tell us what tool to use. With Tinkercad and 3D modeling, there are multiple ways to reach the same goal. It gives students and teachers the ability to select the tool they want to solve their problem.

#6 Attend to Precision

Creating 3D models requires those designing to be precise – even if you don’t know it. Math needs students to be focused and solve the problem they are presented with.

#7 Look for and Make Use of Structure

This part of the common core standards looks for students to find patterns and reasoning to help find the solution. K-3 can start creating shape patterns and students move up in grade levels they learn to approach the problems in different ways. 3D modeling has endless ways for students to make use of structure.

#8 Look For and Express Regularity in Repeated Reasoning

We want to help facilitate innovative thinkers. By showing students how to understand basic principles but apply them in a variety of ways. 3D design and modeling allows students to start with simple shapes and use those models to build more advanced designs over time.

For those teachers, we are previewing a new learning platform – Project Ignite. Project Ignite brings together content, classroom progress and more for teachers looking to get started with 3D design, 3D printing or electronics. Check it out.


  1. Fantastic article. When I was teaching 8th grade Math & Science in the 90’s, I developed a dogged determination to ensure that my students would reap the true benefits of a tech rich environment. It’s more than just having it in the classroom, you have to be creative and develop your curriculum. It’s then when real learning takes place as you step back from the written lesson plan for a moment and just inspire. I developed a “Journey to Equatia” curriculum – a fancy name for show-me-all-the-math that will be present in your possible future career. 1 part essay, 1 part math constructs, 1 part physical craft project. I discovered (as I knew I would) I had in my classroom – future interior designers, automechanics, scientists, dress makers…and the list goes on. One student, in choosing architecture built a scale model of his house in balsa wood. He would have loved TINKERCAD. Another student created a fashion line based on the ratio of body proportions I taught. Never again did I get a “But teach, I won’t need math in my future job.” Boy, were they surprised. Now as the Director of the ECC Tutorial program I can’t wait to bring TINKERCAD to the students I work with as we revitalize our program. Please publish more like this and teachers try out the ShadowPrisms below and let your students make one for their initials.


  2. […] The third function is simulation.  Students are able to explore systems and see how they work in a simulated environment.  Although most are science-based simulations, many also provide math applications.  Tinkercad is an online 3D design and modeling software with science and math uses.  For Geometry, students can simulate transforming 2D shapes into 3D solids, or combining basic figures into complex designs.  The connection between science and math always classes to simulate real life problems in areas such as architecture and engineering: https://www.tinkercad.com/about/features.  The following blog also provides alignment of Tinkercad to the mathematical practices defined by Common Core: https://blog.tinkercad.com/2015/04/10/tinkermath-rethink-common-core-with-3d-design-3d-modeling-or-3d…. […]

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