Forest Oaks Students Using SketchUp and 3D Printers to Learn Design Skills

FOES Sketchup 5th tents 3Gifted Resource Center (GRC) students at Forest Oaks Elementary School are learning about the basics of design with the help of Google SketchUp 3D modeling software and a 3D printer.

The third, fourth, and fifth grade GRC students are participating in the concept-based unit “Life in 3-D: Dream, Design, Do,”  which will culminate with a  “Clubhouse Design Expo” activity. The project is being led by instructors Leigh McClemore and JoBeth Robbins.

“Approximately, 100 students are learning how to use Google SketchUp with the use of the 3DVinci Model Metricks book series,” explained Robbins.  “After learning the ins and outs of the program using these books, teams of students will work together to create their own unique clubhouse design using Google SketchUp.  They will consider client needs, environmental impact, balance of form and function, and incorporate creativity in their design.”

FOES Sketchup 5th grade pic 2Once their 3-D designs have been created virtually, students will have the opportunity to print their designs on a 3-D printer.  By incorportating the use of a 3-D printer, students will be able actually see a printed model of their design.  They will also be able to self assess their designs based on the form and function of their building.

Clubhouse designs will be judged by architects, engineers, designers and builders from the community, using a rubric, based on the requirements of form, function, principles of design, and creativity.

“Our ultimate goal is for students to be equipped to think like a disciplinarian as they take on the roles of architect, designer, builder and engineer in our concept based unit “Life in 3-D: Dream, Design, Do,” said Robbins.

The FOES student project recently garnered attention from the American Institute of Building Design (AIBD), who featured a story about it on their online newsletter Monday Minute.  AIBD was contacted about the project by Timothy Roney, a certified professional building designer with Roney Design Group whose granddaughter, Anna Reed, is a student participating in the project.

Roney emailed Principal Sasha Baker to express his delight that the students were involved in the project as he and many other AIDB members utiltize the Google SketchUp program as part of their design tools.

“The executive director of AIBD was, as was I, very intrigued by the fact that your gifted program for elementary students was introducing the design tool of Sketch-Up,” Roney shared in the email to Baker. “We both are very excited that you have introduced this program to your elementary students. Future designers or architects are being inspired by your good work.”

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