The Omni-Animal is an exercise in which students learn vector graphics / CAD programs, over six laser cutting techniques, and develop spatial reasoning skills. Not only have I taken over 200 students through the exercise, but other FabLab teachers have adopted and adapted the Omni-Animal for their needs.
The Omni-Animal exhibits fundamental educational design principles:
-Relevant: Nothing is prescribed except the techniques. Students are encouraged to build whatever resonates with them. They are allowed to put themselves into their project.
-Low Floor / High Ceiling: It is easy for students to start, and they can take it as far as they want. They are not limited by the project's goal.
-Scaffolded: Each next step is more difficult than the last, but each step prepares the student for what is to come next. Students can comfortably exit at any time.
-Transparent: The laser cutter, in terms of actual use, is a relatively transparent tool: you draw a line, it cuts a line.