My kids got a new toy called the 3D DOODLER that helps them create 3D shapes out of plastic material with a handheld pen. This pen melts the plastic allowing them to design shapes and 3D forms, very much like 3D printing and have creative fun!! Naturally, I was enamored by their curiosity and their talk. As they started exploring creating 3D shapes, I could hear my 7 and 9 year olds tell each other to be careful in their shape that they were building. They were telling each other to make the objects and forms not too thin as they may not be strong to hold the rest of their creation and would break. I could hear them telling each other how to control the flow to so that they could get strong shapes. I started to think, ‘Wow! The kids are discussing strengths of materials and flow behavior in their own terms’.
This got me thinking how fun and cool it would be to introduce 3D modeling and simulations with simple physics to young kids. I have seen some physics based games that use mass, gravity and fulcrums for interactive fun. I am thinking about more. I want kids and young adults to explore, create fun shapes, objects, buildings and machines just like doodling or by building blocks and let them explore the concept of push and pull, loads and stress. It would be great for them to explore the concepts of flow, the movement of fluid flow and the effect of working with different fluids from water to oil and ketchup etc.
We could introduce fun physics, 3D modeling and simulations of structures and fluid flow in an easy to use, intuitive methods. We could introduce concepts of math, physics, fluid and structural mechanics in a colorful manner. I have come to understand kids love to make and break things. If it is colorful, that they can put together. If it is made to break and explode, kids are bound to be enamored and start playing with the system or should I say model and simulate!
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