DESCARTES is an engineering focused STEM tool for teaching mathematics and science concepts through hands on experiments, gaming challenges, and engineering projects. Students can virtually design any number of structures and vehicles and apply grade appropriate math and science standards to do so. DESCARTES uses powerful industrial grade engineering tools behind the scenes but with an easy to use interface perfect for elementary students project-based experiences with engineering-based math and science inquiry. DESCARTES instructional support features, ready to use projects and curricula, student performance evaluation, and game based engagement experiences for students make DESCARTES a great way to seamlessly add engineering into your math and science classrooms.
DESCARTES is formulated for elementary users in Grades 3-5 and is delivered through the browser on students laptops, Chromebooks, and tablets. When compared to other engineering curricula, and tinkering based projects DESCARTES virtual approach to design instruction allows more meaningful integration of engineering with applied math and science concepts and facilitates critical thinking, reasoning, and analysis by allowing students to create, analyze, and test hundreds of variations on designs in the time it would take to create one by hand. DESCARTES unique feature sets include many different design modules for projects involving: Boats, Submersibles, Airships, Gliders, and Rockets. DESCARTES has many project lessons that align with different NGSS and CCSS standards at each grade level and permits the authoring of new custom lessons.
Behind the scenes the DESCARTES platform is a set of real engineering tools for creating complicated designs; analyzing these designs with math, science, data, and plots; simulating these designs; 3D printing or hand fabricating a prototype, and collecting test data in the real world. Students collaborate, communicate, and discuss their designs in teams and DESCARTES contains tools for sharing design logs, files, and results with team members. The platform and supporting curricula have an emphasis on analysis, justification, documentation, practice, and communication of STEM concepts, knowledge, and skills.