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The Barbie Shoe Design Challenge is a free, simple, no-pressure, DIY curriculum that “sneaks” in math, physics and engineering fundamentals by looking at everyday objects in a way that makes the world seem like an amazing, magical place. Gravity is a relentless, invisible pull that makes Barbie plop over UNLESS a force – a counter force, an equal force – pushes back. And that simple force is the shoe. And with each failure, tweak and new material, new concepts are introduced.
The Barbie Shoe Challenge is an open idea that is supported with learning materials and videos provided on the Computer-After-School site. There are tiered levels that are appropriate for every student, and the materials can be simple (a simple carboard “cone” shoe can solve the challenge).
Computers-after-School focuses primarily on teaching software to young students. Trying to break down 3D modeling to little kids is extremely challenging and we’ve been thrilled with the level of proficiency young children (including disabled children as young as 8) have achieved. For the “Advanced Shoe challenge” we provide a “starter file” – this is a 3D model of a tiny, form-fitting Barbie slipper. The shoe or boot can be digitally “built up” from there. (It gets technical, but scanning an object as small as Barbie’s feet is impossible with either a Kinect or photo scanning. So we’re not asking parents and teachers to do that part).
Stay tuned, the files and videos will be released in early 2015. That said, you certainly don’t have to wait for us, grab some Play Doh and see where the road takes you. And if you get it to work, send us a picture.
And when this is done, we’re moving onto the 3D printed flea circus miniature machines 🙂