I work with several of my students on 3D modeling using the programs TinkerCAD and SketchUp. I find that many of the students with autism that I work with are very good at tasks involving visual-spatial skills. 3D modeling is a fun and useful application of this talent.
While they're great at working with the 3D modeling projects, talking or writing about the projects and how they use the program can be a bit more difficult, particularly for my students with limited expressive language. I recently found a fun activity to help work on this type of communication.
My students sometimes use instructional videos from YouTube to help learn specific 3D modeling techniques, so I thought it would be fun them to make their own.
We started simple by doing a very simple action in TinkerCAD: putting a shape in to the workspace. I demonstrated the move while saying something like, "Let's write down how we put a shape on the workplane. First I click the...." and the student said the word "shape." I said, "Yes, we click the shape!" and I wrote it down on a piece of paper. I helped the student figure out the words to say for the rest of the steps, as outlined on the paper shown here. The underlined parts were the parts I prompted, and the student filled in the rest out loud while I wrote them down. We did this for various actions in the program. I tried to fade the prompts as we went on.
You'll also see that I've written what types of prompts I used for each line, just for my own information. "PP" refers to a partial prompt, where I just prompted the underlined parts of the sentence and the student filled in the rest. "I" refers to "independent," where the student came up with the entire sentence with no help from me.
The next step in the process was for the student to read the script out loud while doing each step in the 3D modeling program. I filmed it on my phone, so you could hear the student reading the steps while demonstrating the steps in the program. The above script was used to make four short videos.
I think this activity is great for helping students learn the words to describe what they're working on and share it with others. I plan to keep working on this with my students and work up to describing more complicated projects that they've made. I also have my students keep a portfolio of their work samples. You can download the template that I use here for free.