Tools to Inspire Students to Map Out the Brilliance in Their Minds

4 min read
Part of the December 2020 STEM Resources Digital Calendar!

Imagine, plan, and design are important steps in the Engineering Design Process. After presenting problems for students to solve, they need the opportunity to brainstorm then draft a blueprint, model, or design of their ideas. Students who are given the opportunity to sketch and map out the brilliance in their minds are given the power to transform their communities and world. This important step allows the ideas to come out before those ideas disappear. Below discover digital tools to help students, even toddlers, design and visualize their innovations. Digital designs provide students with the ability to edit and improve the design overtime.

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Blueprint and Design Tools

Most of these tools offer a free version.

  • Seesaw is one of the best tools for students to create a digital portfolio. Not only can students add drawings, shapes, and more to a canvas, but they can also quickly create a voice recording explaining their ideas. Students can share their designs with their classmates, teachers, and parents who can comment and quickly add feedback. Tip! Remember to direct students to label and explain their designs. This will help students share details they may not have the skills to sketch or forgot to include.
  • is one of my students favorite tools for drawing and sketching online. No registration is required and students can design with different backgrounds, including graph paper. Access a variety of clip art and paint and drawing tools.
  • Icograms is a free 3D design platform. With over 3050 icons and 390 templates, students can design beautiful 3D maps, infographics and illustrations. Register to save designs.
  • TinkerCad allows teachers to create classes for free to manage student work. Students easily sign up with a code. Students complete simple modules to learn the program to design 3D objects. These designs can be produced with a 3D printer.
  • The Draw and Tell iOS app is perfect for toddlers and children to plan and design their inventions. They can use the graphing paper feature and add stickers or draw on it. Students also get to record themselves describing their inventions. Discover more ideas about using this app in the Teach Outside the Box blog.
  • Cospaces allows students to use virtual reality and augmented reality technology to create virtual buildings and innovations. This tool also has an education version.
  • With Minecraft (not free, but does have an education version) students can also design, visualize, and build in a virtual space.
  • Home Styler is a web tool recommended for high school students for designing floor plans and blueprints.
  • Lucid Chart is available on the web and on iOS and Android device. Get access to 2 different floor plan templates that students can easily edit. This tool also has an education version.
  • Home Design 3D allows students to create blueprints and print their designs with a 3D printer.
  • Room Sketcher is a blueprint tool with the ability to drag and drop furniture and other shapes.

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