Litchee Academy helps teachers bring STEAM projects to their classrooms. These instructions focus on giving teachers tips and tricks for classroom experiences. You can find our makerspace at litchee.cn
1 computer per student with mouse
Inkscape software (free, Inkscape.org)
Projector for teacher demonstration
-and- something to make the drawing real
Laser Cutter and 2mm wood
or Vinyl Cutter and a roll of Vinyl with sticky back
or an AxiDraw XY Plotter and paper
or a Printer and paper (easiest, but funner on the other machines)
Step 1: Demos and Examples
First, take a few minutes to show everyone what they'll be working to achieve! Have an example completed, and show everyone an 80% completed drawing that you can take a few steps on. Then, load up this instructable!
Step 2: Get the Inkscape Tutorial Online
Aaron Nieze made this fun tutorial: https://design.tutsplus.com/tutorials/create-an-ad...
Try to access the tutorial online, rather than handing out a copy (because you can see the other cool stuff Aaron did, and get a sense for even more projects!). But, if internet is spotty, then make a PDF.
Step 3: Start Drawing!
Encourage variation, but set constraints to keep it controlled! We used crazy colors, even though when we laser cut it will only be the lines that get cut. When you are finished, save the file, and then save a second copy by going to File / Save As, and choosing the .dxf filetype. This is for the lasercutter, XY Plotter, or whatever machine you have.
Step 4: Fabrication
Use your laser cutter, vinyl cutter, printer, etc to bring the designs into the real world. If a printer, I recommend creating them in black and white, and then adding color with markers.
I used 2mm wood and an 80w laser cutter set to 70% power for the cuts, and 20% power for drawing the lines.
Step 5: Inspire!
Have the kids present their projects in short cell phone videos, pictures, or even make instructables posts!
I recommend a fishbowl approach for videos: have a video team in a separate room for quietness, and the others are watching the team making comments and having a discussion.
Let me know if you have any questions or need tips!