EDIT: The Sketchup models mentioned in this post are downloadable below.
Over the last few days, I’ve been using Sketchup a fair bit. This all stemmed from both myself and Mrs Pitts wanting to use it with classes this next half term. We have both used it before, last year, but we both understand it a lot better now so can push forward with developing our skills a little better.
Sketchup can be downloaded from www.sketchup.com
Mrs Pitts’ next topic is the Maya and she was looking at a way to create a link between Computing and the rest of her teaching. She had considered using Minecraft to build a temple, but there are all kinds of hurdles to jump before using Minecraft at her workplace. So I suggested using Sketchup and set to work, eventually creating these items.
A completed temple, with an additional upper altar.
A completed temple, painted with textures.
Two versions of a temple – one incomplete (background)
You can see my original attempt in the background of the untextured image.
The key to anything in Sketchup is planning ahead. It requires a logical mind and an ability to visualise I think – which makes it very good to develop many skills in Computing.
I posted these on a Facebook group for teachers, and quickly got into a discussion about other ideas for using Sketchup in education. One suggestion was a part of the great wall of China, another was creating a Viking longship and, the one that grabbed me, was a volcano.
First, I laid out my model area using a circle and some extra lines around the edge.
Then I added a centre and lines going from the centre out to the edge.
At this point I added height to the central part.
Then I went wrong a little. I tried to add lines connecting the central part to the outer edges, but couldn’t get them to work… I ended up with a few triangles, but no extra faces.
Then I used the move tool to drag points from the bottom of the raised central part outwards like this.
I continued all around the bottom edges, not really paying attention to where I was putting them, using my original outer limits just as a guide. I was really just thinking of the overall effect!
Once I’d done that and was happy with it, I went back to the centre and added a few more lines to allow me to play with them.
A few more tweaks using the move tool gave me a lumpy bumpy crater that I was happy with.
Then I added some colour, making a lava effect by altering the hue of one of the water textures. It’s not an amazing model, but it’ll do.
It took about an hour overall, but I only had a vague idea of how to tackle it when I started – this is the visualisation stuff I’m talking about, I knew what I wanted, but not really how to do it. The project might be a little advanced for anyone other than Year 6s, but it is possible with a bit of patience.
Then… the comments continued. Someone asked if I thought it was possible to build an Egyptian-style pyramid with Year 3s. Now, I wouldn’t try this with any Year 3 children I’ve worked with, but it is possible.
Start with a square.
Move up the centre and be sure to constrain to the blue axis using the control key. This is the hard bit.
I thought about adding detail, using the measure tool to split the sides up into 1m intervals.
And it kind of works…
That’ll do for now!
In short, it would be a really worthwhile way of linking Computing skills with many areas of the curriculum. To help with skills, in case you haven’t used Sketchup before, Twinkl have produced a set of planning for Year 5, but it could be used with other classes. You can find those here.