We’re talking to Solomon Menashi, the CEO and Co-Founder of BlocksCAD. BlocksCAD is a cloud-based 3D modeling tool that encourages users to learn math, computational thinking and coding concepts through visualization and designing models to be 3D printed.
Solomon – or Sol as many call him – is the CEO & Co-Founder of BlocksCAD. Sol has been a leader in STEM education both as an educator and entrepreneur for over a decade. After a successful career as a small business executive, Solomon has worked with LEGO Education and as a founder of his own company to teach STEM in after school settings.
Images: Copyright Sol Menashi, BlocksCAD – used with permission
In the course of his career, he has taught classes and developed curriculums. Solomon has an Master of Education (EDM) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) with a concentration in learning and teaching. He also has an MBA from Boston University. In 2017 Sol co-founded BlocksCAD Inc to help educators and students more effectively use BlocksCAD and 3D printers in classrooms around the world.
Here’s a quick intro to BlocksCAD: it’s a cloud based 3d modelling tool, which means kids and teachers can simply use their web browser and a block-based visual coding language to create 3d shapes. By dragging blocks such as cubes & spheres into the workspace and by applying set operations such as union or difference and combining this with conditional blocks or loops, even complex 3d shapes can be created. While having a lot of fun creating these models, the kids learn about logic, coding and mathematics.
BlocksCAD is based on the open-source programming language OpenSCAD, a powerful and popular language in the 3D maker community. BlocksCAD’s block-based interface makes programming accessible to students as young as 3rd grade (8 years old), but is powerful enough to continue making sophisticated designs through high school.
The created designs can be exported to STL files for 3d printing and the projects can also be shared online so other’s can edit and advance the projects.
Besides providing this great 3d editor, BlocksCAD also includes a lot of teacher support tools, for example for managing student accounts and managing the classes. BlocksCAD also provides lessons for grades 3-12, aligned with computer science and math classes.