Toy Train Tinkercad/ 3Dprinting Lessonplan

About: I am a Makerspace/Technology Teacher on the International School of Aruba. I teach STEAM lessons in our Makerspace with kids from grade 4 till grade 12. I love tinkering, discovering and making, so I made it...

Excuses for any grammatical/spelling mistake. English is not my first language.

As a makerspace/technology teacher I am searching all the time to find meaningful projects. Especially when it comes to 3D printing. 3D printing is getting more and more used into education. But often we only see it used for robotics, science related topics, cellphone accessories or simple 3D keychains. I wanted more.

The kids from grade 8, with who I worked with in this case, already have had some lessons in tinkercad. So they were able to create simple designs in tinkercad. Now I wanted them to think ahead. So they had to design something that would be assembled afterwards! And to keep it simple, we stick by toy trains.
The good thing about this project is, that the toy trains could be given as present to a child, but in our case, the toy trains would go to an orphanage on our island of Aruba.

In the next steps I will tell you how the project went, so you can use it for your own class. I will also include the sheets I made and the rubrics, so it's easy to grade the project afterwards.

You can use this project also in Grade 7 or Grade 9.


  • 3D printer
  • enough computers for the students (based on the amount of students in class)
  • Paint for plastics
  • assembling tools (pliers, hammers etc.)
  • basic knowledge of Tinkercad
  • a profile on Tinkercad (= free!)


Step 1: Lesson 1: Understanding Different Parts.

I started with the sheet. (see in the attachment)
To understand a specific design, in this case a Toy Train that's truly riding, they have to understand that it comes in different parts. This lesson shows them that. I provided this Lesson through Google classroom. It's a super medium to go paperless, the kids were able to fill in the worksheet online and return it right away. (I use Google Docs to distribute the worksheet) Important is that the students learn to make every symmetric and accurate as possible.
To introduce the lesson to the Children I used this Prezi.

Let the students work on this lesson for 1 hour.

Note: This first part of the Lesson series is not invented by me. I used Jonathan Rothman's first lesson to set the stage for this project. If you like you can see his project here.

Step 2: Lesson 2: Set the Stage for the Final Product

In Lesson 2 I distributed the documents above to the students through Google Classroom. I set it up so that most of the questions were answered before they were asked to me.
Additionally, I told the students that they could use the rubric (see attachment) to keep track of their grade.
To give them some inspiration, I googled the web for some examples and added those to the lesson as well.

Please, read through the documents to have an idea to set the lesson up. You may use, modify it to whatever you want.

The students went to work after this in tinkercad, designing and investigating models and connections. From here they had 6 lessons (of an hour) to complete the project.

In the next step I will show some photos of the students work.

Step 3: Lesson 3/7: Student Work.

In the first two steps I have showed you how I have set up this lesson series. The next lessons are used to work in my classroom ("The Makerspace"). The end results were awesome. To show you what the end results can be I will show you some student work and progress in the photos attached.

In the end, most of the trainset would fit in the wooden tracks. I actually wanted to print/CNC cut these too, but I came short in time. Maybe for another time. I ended up buying the wooden tracks (which are not expensive at all).
The students liked the project, because they were making something that would be of great joy to others. 3D-design became all of a sudden very meaningful. Outside of gaining a technical skill, they were also helping the world making little bit a better place for those children. I cannot post the pictures of the children of the orphanage due to privacy rules, so you have to think this with it.

Thank you for reading my first Instructable. If you have any comments or complaints, let me know. I will try to answer them as soon as possible.



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    1 year ago

    That's really cute :)