Monday, 14 February 2011

Google Sketchup

Over the last two weeks I have taught my first lessons with Y6 children using Google Sketchup and looking at graphical modelling.

We began last week by exploring the tools available in the programme and learning what a lot of them do by following instructions to build a simple house. This introduced children to the idea that they can draw the floor of a shape and use the push/pull tool to make it 3D. The kids love the fact that a cuboid can have a section cut out of the side from which you can enter the shape, and proceed to walk around inside it. To make a house like mine below the children had to use the rectangle tool, push/pull tool, line tool, move tool, eraser and then discover the different styles of paint available such as bricks, cladding, roofing and translucent.

This was a very tricky first lesson for the children, they were learning brand new concepts and struggled with some of the tools, consequently getting to know the 'undo' option quite well! Once I felt the kids had understood what most of the tools would do I moved onto our task for the session.

The children were given 5 minutes to use Photo Booth to take pictures of themselves, using effects if they wished. Once they had chosen a favourite picture they dragged it to the desktop and then imported it into Sketchup. They then used the offset tool followed by the push/pull tool to build a picture frame around the image. Some went further and created a mount for their picture for a more professional look. Each picture was then saved as a component and stored in a shared folder.

Today the children were given the challenge to design their own building which would become an art gallery. They could choose how many walls the room of their gallery had, and be creative with their colour scheme. Once the building had been constructed they learnt how to import their framed pictures from last week and put together their exhibition. Some went further and created a building with more than one room and there are certainly budding architects in this class based on the designs of their roofs!

The final step of the process was to add animation, enabling us to see the art gallery exhibition through the eyes of a viewer walking up to the building, through the door and stopping to look at each photograph.

I was truly wowed by the progress the children showed this week, especially after they struggled last week. Sketchup is such a simple programme to use once you get to know the tools, and it has the power to let the children be highly creative while they learn. I was genuinely excited that a couple of kids had been exploring Sketchup at home too, I can't wait to see what they'll create next!

Has anyone else used Sketchup with primary pupils?

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