App of the Week: Minecraft-like 3-D modeling made easy

Ed. note: App of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Click here to read the full app review.

3D Slash

What’s It Like? Design thinking, rapid prototyping, and learning by creating are hot topics in education right now, and for good reason: These practices all promote curiosity and experimentation, skills that strongly predict academic performance and persistence. 3D Slash is a shortcut to classroom experiments that hone these skills. For engineering, science, or physics classes, there’s no shortage of ways to integrate this tool, but creative teachers can come up with compelling uses in math, social studies, and English classes (do a quick search for Minecraft-based lessons for some ideas; most of them will work here, too).

Price: Free/paid

Grades: 2-12

Pros: Simple, Minecraft-inspired design tools are familiar to some users and easy to learn for others, especially with the great tutorials and examples.

Cons: Designs are exclusively composed of cubes, which makes creating very complex designs a bit challenging, and the teacher dashboard is limited.

Bottom line: This may be the fastest, cheapest route from idea to 3-D printing out there, if you don’t mind low-res, pixelated designs.

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