Elementary School Students Are Learning CAD/CAM

In San Bernadino, California, the programming journey at Captain Leland F. Norton Elementary School begins in kindergarten using free software tools that allow young children to design a wide range of projects. In the third grade, they move into more technical software programs.

Even the early projects are mathematically and scientifically driven. The project for the second graders is to make a planter box for a plant. In third grade, the students solve mathematical problems. Based on their answers, they will form a representation of a particular object, such as a cat or a clown that they would then lay out in CorelDRAW®.

elementary school cnc

Students are introduced to SOLIDWORKS® in the fourth grade. A project might be to design a solar car, employing SOLIDWORKS for the basic design and then Mastercam Art for the more intricate components. Mastercam Art lets a student bring a project from a 2D drawing on screen to a beautifully sculpted 3D object completed on a CNC machine.

Because the school is environmentally focused, fifth graders have been creating slogans that have themes aimed at protecting the environment and then using Mastercam to cut out plaques incorporating these themes using a CNC laser cutter. The plaques are on different media, such as cardboard and wood.

elementary school cnc

Meanwhile, sixth graders are creating replicas of the solar system using many of the tools acquired over the years. Familiar with various CAD/CAM software systems and must integrate them all in bringing each planet from a drawing, to an isometric blueprint, to a 3D object, demonstrating that they have an excellent working knowledge and skill sets for programming as they move on through high school and eventually to the job market.

Learn more about the students journey through CAD/CAM in the article in CNC West magazine: Programming Is “Elementary” at Captain Leland F. Norton School.