Jump Upon the #WorldPiece Train!

Are you seeking some inner piece? Maybe a pie slice? Perhaps a thimble? Are you feeling Sorry! some of your beloved board games have been decimated over the years? Well, a group of students and teachers have a solution to your problem: Put down the couch cushions and start re-imagining your missing game pieces using Tinkercad! In May, a group of middle schoolers and their teachers from the Brookwood School in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA, launched the #WorldPiece Project in collaboration with the Boston Children’s Museum. Its goals:

  • Empower young people through authentic design opportunities
  • Allow individuals to salvage board games that are missing pieces
  • Encourage the creation of “personalized, adaptive board game pieces”

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The students and their teachers spent a fun-filled week at the Boston Children’s Museum using Tinkercad to design replacement board game pieces for museum visitors.

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They also engaged younger museum-goers in creating their own board game pieces in clay, which the students then scanned and uploaded into Tinkercad.

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Other ways they made the project accessible included teaching novice tinkerers about the new Scribble feature, as an easy way to make personalized pieces. They also created prototypes for game pieces that use Braille to indicate color – an adaption meant to encourage equitable play for everyone!

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Earlier in the week, the group visited the Autodesk BUILD Space in Boston to see a real-life collaborative research & development workshop for the future of building.

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At the BUILD Space, they got to meet professional designers and explore future career paths.

Aside from practicing skills in design, measurement, communication, fabrication, and problem-solving, the students also left inspired to continue to use hands-on experimentation to tackle even bigger challenges.

Here are some reflections from the students and their teachers:

Liam (8th grade student) – “I liked that we got to help both children and their parents learn to design. I also enjoyed introducing them to 3D printing.”

Caroline (7th grade student) – “I enjoyed working with the families and the kids and seeing their faces light up when they saw a 3D printer working for the first time. I also loved visiting the Autodesk BUILD Space. I would LOVE to work there.”

Zach (6th grade student) – “I really liked designing the missing game pieces. I felt like I was making a difference because now people don’t have to stop playing a game because they lost a piece.”

Chad (6th grade teacher): “It was wonderful to see the energy and excitement of the older students engaging with educating younger museum visitors about how to create with Tinkercad. The experience provided a rich opportunity for the older students to sharpen not only their communication skills, but also their tinkering skills as well. It was especially great to learn how to use the new Scribble tool, which provided a point of entry for even the youngest tinkerers.”

Rich (Innovation Coordinator): “We have been pioneering a number of authentic 3D designing and printing initiatives at Brookwood over the past 4 years in an attempt to connect our students to their school and community through the solving of real life problems. When the Boston Children’s Museum expressed an interest in having our students bring our ‘Brookwood Changemakers’ initiative to the museum, we leapt at the chance to involve a broader (and younger) audience in this work. Our ‘World Piece Project’, centering around the creation of replacement pieces for board games, provided our students and museum visitors with the opportunity to collaborate and learn design and making skills in a meaningful and authentic context.”

The team at Brookwood hopes to keep this project alive through their website, where you can download the .STL files of the pieces they designed and also share ideas for new pieces to make.