Introduction: Reducing Food Waste - Design Challenge With TinkerCad

Grades: 9-10 (US)

Students learn to practice:

- Technology - using a digital tool (Tinkercad) and innovative technology (3D printing)

- Art - designing something aesthetically pleasing

- Mathematics

- Problem-solving (creating a solution model for an environmental problem)


Computers or tablets with audio and Internet access to Tinkercad

Digital paper sketchbook or sheets of paper

Sticky notes

Pencils or pens

Step 1: Introducing the Problem

Learning objectives:

- Students understand the situation of food waste in the world.

- Students explain the reasons and consequences.

Teaching procedure:

1. Introduce the problem of food waste - leftovers:

The teacher will present:

- Images and data of food waste in restaurants, homes, schools and public places

- Images and data of trash bin, landfill

- Images and data about the lack of food in the world

- Images and data about air/water/soil pollution and low living condition in the area near the landfill

Link for sample presentation:

2. Setting the Scene

The teacher introduces the challenge faced by a specific house with 3 members and a bird. Leftovers are usually found in their living space. They end up in the soil, trash bin around, landfill nearby.

Students have a class discussion about the reasons and consequences of leftovers in this particular situation.

Direction questions:

- What can be the reason that they waste food in this case?

- Identify the consequence for family/school environment and health and any other issues may occur.

- Why reducing leftover, in this case, is important?


- Which ideas can reduce the problem?

Step 2: Brainstorming Solutions

Learning objectives:

- Students identify their ideas.

- Students have fundamental knowledge about TinkerCad

- Group formation

Teaching procedure:

1. Students brainstorm:

Find a product which can help reduce the problem of leftover and food waste.
Brainstorm as many products as possible.

Show them some examples: food container, vacuum tools, weekly meal planner,...

2. Students analyse the Bird Feeder

- See images of real bird-feeder

- How do you think that a bird-feeder can help with the problem of food waste and leftovers?

- Besides that, what else a bird-feeder can benefit our living?

- Which kind of food that birds eat? How to collect food for the bird-feeder?

- How many parts in a bird-feeder? Is it easy to make?

If you have to make a bird-feeder, which tool, material and kind of machine will you use?

3. Students are introduced about Tinkercad

What have you already known and want to know about 3D printer and TinkerCad? (write in column K and W in the K-W-L chart)

Intro: Tinkercad is a free online collection of software tools that help people all over the world think, create and make. They are the ideal introduction to Autodesk, the leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software.

Watch the 2 videos:

What do you know now about Tinkercad that you didn’t know before (write in column L in the K-W-L chart)

4. Groups are formed based on students' level of using TinkerCad.

You will be divided into different groups based on your knowledge about Tinkedcad as well as your Tinkercad design skills.
No experience students are encouraged to try using Tinkercad at home before the next lesson.

Sample presentation:

Step 3: Lesson 3 - Tinkercad Classroom Practice

Learning Objectives:

Students become acquainted with using Tinkercad

Students design a basic 3D model according to a tutorial


1. Teachers create their Tinkercad accounts:

2. Teachers create their Tinkercad Classrooms:

3. After the teacher has generated a classroom code/link, the link is shared with the students on Google Classroom. Students are reminded that they don’t need to register with this link, just type in their full names or nicknames However, they are welcome to register on their own or use their Google accounts to sign up, as long as they are provided with the classroom code.

4. Groups go to and explore available tutorials

5. Assignment: design a 3D model according to a tutorial.

- Groups with lower-to-zero level of expertise are encouraged to try with Starters before moving on to their first 3D model:;c...

- Groups with some expertise or more confidence are suggested to follow one of the Basic Skills tutorials:;co...

6. Groups are left to work on their tutorial projects. The teacher observes their progress and provides any necessary support.

7. 10 minutes before the lesson ends, groups’ tutorial results are briefly reviewed together as a class. Students give feedback on the difficulty of the platform.


· Students are asked to think what they could design with Tinkercad that would be a solution to reducing food waste

· Groups / students who found it more difficult are encouraged to design either:

A) A pizza:

B) A ruler:

C) Any other object, either from a tutorial or their own liking

Step 4: Lessons 4 & 5 - the First Prototype

Learning Objectives:

Groups review the tinkercad model of an example bird feeder

Groups agree on a 3D model idea of their solution

Groups design their 1st iterations of the solution


1. The entire class view the modelled tinkercad example of a bird feeder in their slides and discuss its feasibility, usefulness and flaws. The teacher can also show the animated GIF of the step-by-step design process.

2. Groups start the class by taking 5 minutes to agree on the 3D model of their solution

3. Students log in to their Tinkercad accounts and start a new project*.

*If each student has their own computer, 1 student creates a project, then uses the “invite people” function to share the link to the projects with their groupmates (see screenshots):

3. Groups start creating their 3D models. They are encouraged not to be bogged down by details and create the essential elements of their model. The teacher checks in with each group to provide any support needed.

5. Students continue with their designs until the end of the next lesson.

- If their initial design is at least ¾ finished, they are not required to do any additional work, but are encouraged to finish the design at home.

- If the group is struggling and/or their design is only halfway finished, students are strongly encouraged to work on the design after class.

6. Groups are informed that next lesson they should finish their models and the lesson after that - present their solutions and 3D prototypes to receive useful feedback to further improve their solutions.

Step 5: Lesson 6 – the Feedback Session

Learning objectives:

Students will learn to evaluate their achievements

Learning the importance of different kinds of feedback


1. Teacher will gather students and starts a discussion about the first prototype.

2. Students are separated into their original groups and asked to evaluate their work methods and the first prototype. This step is peer assessment.

3. Teacher hands students already made table in which similar questions are asked. This step is self assessment.

4. Teacher gives feedback to groups in turns about the work.

5. All of the steps should last approximately 15 minutes.

Step 6: Lesson 7 – Second Iteration

Learning objectives:

An opportunity to learn the significance of enhancing one’s accomplishment

Learning how to use a 3D printer


1. Students are given 15-30 minutes to finalize and tweak the first prototype. Thus, students can add more details to the prototype.

2. Teacher gathers students and presents them the 3D printer. Teacher shows the basic functions of the printer and how it works.

3. Students start to 3D print their finalized model separately in their own groups. This will take the rest of the 30-45 minutes.

4. Because the 3D printing is a very slow process, most of it will happen in between the 6th and the 7th lesson.

Step 7: Lesson 8 - the Outcome

Learning objectives:

Highlighting students’ 3D modeling achievements

Receiving a concrete self-made object


1. Students present their final models to others.

2. Every group presents the model in turns and can still at this point give (ideally positive and/or constructive) feedback.

3. These steps should last 60 minutes and after the lesson students will bring home a self-made 3D printed object.

4. The teacher assesses their project work in Google Classroom

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