When my friend Dave Ternent and I started teaching a middle school STEM course back in 2012, one of the first tools that we selected for the course was SketchUp.
After seeing the awesome Matt England present at a local tech conference about his use of SketchUp with middle schoolers we even had information from someone who had used it about how to best introduce it. Matt was kind enough to share his resources during the session.
Based on Matt’s information, we had our students make shapes with certain dimensions as they learned to use it (see image). After that, they moved up to creating a 3-hole putt-putt (mini-golf) course that fit within a certain area (see image). They got very creative with those courses, which is great, but you could also extend this to tons of curriculum standards! Surface area, Roman architecture, volume, locations from literature, measurement, earthquake-resistant houses, perimeter, developing cities . . . I could go on and on. But I stopped using SketchUp. Why? It didn’t work on Chromebooks.
Until recently! SketchUp is now available on the web, which means that you can use it on Chromebooks! Check out the animated GIF below showing me using SketchUp. Imagine the possibilities for students!