|Image Labeled for Re-use on Flickr by Sadie Hernandez|
One of my motivations to learning how to use Google SketchUp is to teach and coach my design students how to take their 2-dimensional architectural drawings to a new level. As part of the design cycle, students are asked to create several feasible designs for a solution to a problem or challenge. These usually involve sketching various 2-dimensional ideations/versions for a specific model in form of blueprints like the ones seen here of a model train car.
|2-Dimensional Blueprint of a possible Indian Train Car|
1. What does my product dimensions look like when in 3-Dimensional format?
2. What does my proposed product look like from various angles? (top view, side view, etc)
3. What are some of my aesthetic options? Color, texture, shape
4. Where is the most effective/strategic location for this seat, coach, fountain, etc.?
My son and I worked together with Google Sketchup on building a model of the Alberta Legislature Building. You can see the finished product here:
We had to pay attention to several details in order to make the model historically accurate. As we were translating our ideas into a 3-D model, a fresh perspective enabled us to learn far more than we imagined. For example, there is a large circular fountain at the entrance to the building. When we sized and created the fountain, we noticed that made it difficult to walk around the fountain to get to the entrance to the Legislative Assembly. We both wondered why the designers would want to make the journey so narrow and difficult. After much discussion about security, we realized that this might be intentional for security reasons. Furthermore, from above we noticed that the Building is in the shape of a cross, which has significance based on the religious affiliation of the original designers and architects.
Stepping back, taking a breath and finding a new perspective is often a difficult mental task. Yet, with the right tools, we can teach students to see things differently and therefore develop allow them to develop new ideas. What techniques and tools do you employ to help students develop new perspective?
If you are interested in using Google SketchUp to give your students new perspective here are a few sights that might be helpful:
1. Google SketchUp Download
2. Free video tutorials to learn Google SketchUp
b) Google SketchUp for Dummies by Aidan Chopra
3. Sample Lesson Plans using Google SketchUp
4. For the complete PDF version of the 3DVinci Google SketchUp Teacher Guide, go to:
5. Video Presentation by Joe Donahue on the use of Google SketchUp in the Classroom