Creative Thinking, Education, K-12, Student Products, Teaching Tools

Project Ignite

I briefly mentioned Project Ignite yesterday, and would like to explain the site today for those interested in using it.  I first found out about Project Ignite from my colleagues on the #makered Twitter chat (every Tuesday, 8 PM CST).  I am, by no means, an expert on Project Ignite.  However, I can give you a few tips that I’ve learned when using it with my students.

A site from Autodesk, Project Ignite includes projects from two Autodesk products – Tinkercad and 123D Circuits.  I have only used the Tinkercad projects so far.

Tinkercad is the design program my students use for creating objects for our 3D printer.  You can have students directly log in to Tinkercad, but there are a few reasons you may want to use Project Ignite to introduce them to the program instead of going straight to Tinkercad.

  • Project Ignite allows teachers to create classrooms and assign projects within those classrooms.  Projects can even be assigned through Google Classroom.
  • Students can sign in with Google credentials, and join the Project Ignite class with a code. (Click on “more providers” when you get to the login window in order to see the Google option.)
  • Teachers are able to view the progress of their students on projects at any time from one dashboard.
  • Project Ignite is less overwhelming for students who are just learning.
  • Project Ignite includes specific projects with step-by-step instructions.  They are labeled by difficulty level. There is also a “Freestyle” project, which you can assign if you don’t see the specific objective you want to address in the projects on the site.

Parental consent is needed for students under 13 to use Project Ignite and Tinkercad.  (You can find a Parental Consent form here, or use one that your district provides.) Once students get comfortable, they can log on directly to Tinkercad to design and remix other projects.  Since Tinkercad does have a Gallery to which anyone can publish, it is possible inappropriate material will appear.  However, the Gallery option does not appear on Project Ignite.

If,  you don’t know anything about Tinkercad (like me when I first started last year), you might want to go through some of the Project Ignite beginner lessons yourself to gain some familiarity.  Tinkercad also has a great tutorial page.  You can scroll down to the bottom for a few short videos that include an overview of Tinkercad.  Older students usually move on the Sketchup or other design software, but I find Tinkercad is just the right level for my elementary students.  My students picked up Tinkercad faster than me, and teach me something new every time we design.

The only downfall that I’ve found with Project Ignite is that I would love to see more projects from which to choose.  The site is looking for more contributors, so if you think you have a wonderful 3D printing lesson to add, click here.

For more information about 3d printing in elementary school, you might want to visit my post on factors to consider when choosing a 3d printer and/or my post on curriculum integration.

Splash page of a Project Ignite lesson
Page 2 of the Buoyancy lesson from Project Ignite


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