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Teaching Maths and Physics with Autodesk Fusion

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Autodesk Fusion is an amazing - free and powerful -  tool, but quite simply, we are not getting it into the hands of enough teachers and students. 

 

So, why is this? It could be that the curriculum is overly constrained and skewed towards traditional “pen and paper” teaching. 

 

Another reason could be that many of the teachers who are spending time with our future engineering talent don’t have the confidence to use Fusion in their day-to-day teaching.

 

It could also be argued that many teachers see using CAD software as the domain of the “Engineering” subjects (D&T, Engineering etc.) and that they simply don’t have a rationale to.

 

Well, that is where we come in. The team at www.fusioneducatorshub.com have started a pilot with Ed Charlwood (the other guy from the education blog) looking at leveraging the power of Autodesk Fusion to teach (and learn) Maths and Physics!

 

The concept is simple … lets bring Maths and Physics to life using Fusion. For example, why use a normal calculator when Fusion has one built in, and you can use it to perform pretty much any mathematical function?

 

You can have a look at one of the initial videos here...

 

 

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… But, this is only the start of how the world of Maths and formulas can be used to engage and streamline a design path using functions. I have made a set of tutorials that I use with my students called “don’t reinvent the wheel.”. The concept is simple: you design one fully dimensioned wheel with all the dimensions based on a single ‘reference’ dimension called a Parameter.

 

All the other dimensions are then generated by functions using this one Parameter value to change the design of the wheel all you need to do is edit the initial parameter then hey presto, all linked values change … Now some of you may argue that the scale function would be quicker and simpler, but this isn’t the point, it's about showing students how the world of mathematical functions can start to drive the world of design.

 

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It’s not just about Maths, the world of GCSE and A level Physics teaching needs to embrace this digital transformation and Fusion has many of the tools to help develop an understanding and harbour a curiosity to apply Physics in a virtual world. 

 

Why not use thermal studies to teach about specific heat capacity and energy transfer?

 

You can see one of my simple setups below, along with a tutorial video to watch along with.

 

 

But, then, it can go in all sorts of different directions. Why not have a look at static stress simulations or even dynamic events? 

 

We can create easily shareable Datasets or static stress simulations with a range of materials with different Young's Moduli. You can help students make their own materials and apply them to all sorts of different contexts and scenarios. 

 

We had a go at making bone as a material in Fusion for one of our Year 13s EPQ projects, which looked at how the degree of the curvature of the spine might affect the longer term diagnosis of a patient. We did encounter some problems with computing power due to the number of nodes in the spinal scan … but hey, it was a fun process to go through and was a superb exploration of a real life issue that really motivated the student who aspires to a medical career.

 

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So, how do we encourage teachers to use this powerful tool? Well, in some instances there will be the superkeen, super tech aware Maths and Physics teachers. But this is not the average profile of a UK secondary school teacher, and we love to hear from as many of these as we can! … or we can try a different approach. 

 

There are lots of online content creators making resources and tutorials for both Maths and Physics, and we will provide our own set of solutions to mirror the problems set. Typically, online educators have in the region of 200,000 subscribers. So, students can learn Fusion as well as revise in a different, engaging way at home. Our resources will not just focus on Maths revision but will be used to generate a model at the same time… Watch this space, and when they are fully available, we will be sharing all of our resources with the wider community. 

 

Autodesk Fusion can help you bring Maths and Physics to life for your students, by showing them how maths is used in the real world to create innovative products and solutions. You can use Fusion to demonstrate how Maths and Physics are involved in various fields such as architecture, engineering, art, gaming, robotics and more. You can also use Fusion 360 to inspire your students to be creative and express their ideas through 3D design.

 

We are only scratching the tip of the iceberg. Still, Fusion is such an amazing and free educational tool that it needs busting out of the traditional D&T and engineering teachers domain and explore all sorts of different curriculum areas!

 

Are you a teacher who wants to give their students access to Fusion ... it's dead easy just use the link provided below.

 

https://forums.autodesk.com/t5/fusion-educators/resources-to-help-you-teach-fusion/td-p/10929297

 

If you are a student then send the link to your teacher and they will help you get started!

Finally, we would love to see how you do it! If you use Fusion in the classroom as a teaching tool, share it down below!