What free STEM tools are available online or tablet applications for kids who are 7 and older?
Hi family maker,
Welcome back for the weekly STEM article for you and your children for more tips.
In the last article, we saw the first step we need to take if our child want to step into STEM: What should I buy first if my kid is ready to start STEM activities.
We saw differents type of hardware that may be buy to allow them to discover different types of activities: robotics, 3D printing, Hands-on activities, electronics.
One of the thing that they have in common is that they are all hardware and need to be buy. Not too good if you are on a budget. Fortunately, something can be done about it specially in the internet-era.What are trying to say is that wonderful free tools are available online and it's time to tap in.
I want to remind you of something, that those online tools are mainly used to learn coding. Some may also be found to learn how to make video game and draw.
In this article as mentionned in the title, we will focus on tools that are appropriated for children that are 7 years old and older.
Coding can be learned in many different ways and at a really your age (more or less 7 years old). When so young, you use block that can be move around and stacked together to make your 1st program. When older (around 11-12 years), the students can start upgrading the level and l
Python: You can o to python.org and find an online tool where you can to code online right away. Python is used by developpers all around the world. If you want your child to start with it. He/She must be at least 12 years to not feel frustrated. Link: www.python.org
C language: C is also a language use by developper all aroud the world. It is use to write program and also in embedded electronics. Kids must also be 12 years old and above to start with it. We will spend more time on this in another article for more details and how to install the software and get used o the coding part.
Scratch: Scratch is an online language. it works with blocks that the student move around one above another one to create a final program. The students can start at a really young age ( 7 years and above). link: www.scratch.org
You may have heard of 3D printing before. They are all around in schools, workshops, companies and can do pretty nice objects that nobody never thought of before.
With a machine stacking plastic layer per layer until the object id finished. Object I said? Yes, to use the 3d printer, you need an object.
There are diverse ways to obtain a 3D object. But today, we will focus on only one way. It is to design our own object. Yes, indeed, this is what I said. you need to design your own object.
Depending of your child age, you have different software on the market. Check this out:
Tinkercad: Tinkercad is a online 3D design software. It is usually made to teach kids how to 3d design. It's so easy to use, than adults and some 3D designers use it to modelise their objects and parts to be 3d printed thereafter. The students can start using it at 7 years old and above. The link for the online app is: www.tinkercad.com
Freecad: This is a software available on computer. It is a free one used by 3D designer. A little bit more complicated than tinkercad, it is made for kids that are above 15 years old. They can start at 12 but it will be really annoying and frustating for them. tinkercad does a better job than that. More info on: www.freecadweb.org
Morphiapp (Not free): This application available for tablets on Android and Ipad is not free. But it happened that I found it really interactive. It may be wise to consider with all the possibilities that are available with it. More details are available on www.morphiapp.com
With the electronics, there are software available to be download. As we mentionned before, these are hardware. As lucky we are o find software or free, it's a different story with the hardwre (need to pay most of the time). But you still have the software that goes with them for free online that can be downloaded.
Makey makey: Makey makey is a electronics board that can be transformed to interact with a computer. Usually by switching the keyboard to fruits, veggies. They have an online website full with apps that can be used to code a piano, drum, move a cat on the screen. It's compatible for kids are 7 years old and older. More can be found at the following adress: makeymakey.com
Arduino: Arduino is a little board big as a credit card. It is used to create small electronics projects such as radio, robot. It is usually compatible for sutdents above 12 years old. It includes an Interface to code the board that can be download for free online at: www.arduino.cc
Raspberry pi: Raspberry pi is also a little electronics board as the arduino we just saw before. It allows you to create robots, webserver, to code with python, a radio, create nice projects. It runs on a linux based operation system. It is compatible for students above 12 years old. More info on the boards can be found at: www.raspberrypi.org
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See you next week for the coming article