SketchUp: 3D Modeling

SketchUp is a way to build 3D models on the computer. It is more complicated than other 3D modeling web tools such as TinkerCad, and also needs to be downloaded onto your computer, but it is definitely worth it.

If you teach third grade and above, using SketchUp is an easy way to turn an otherwise ordinary lesson or project into an extraordinary and engaging one. For example, if you are teaching about 3D shapes, students can actually build a model of a castle using different shapes in the program.

In my classroom, for instance, my fourth graders used the program in small groups to design their ideal classroom as a culture-building activity at the beginning of the year. Students used the program as an option for “early finishers,” and built various creations. SketchUp made it a lot easier for students to use TinkerCad later in the year with the Mobile Stem Lab.

When preparing to use this program, you will want to first download and learn the program yourself, playing around with it to build your own models and be prepared to troubleshoot students’ common problems. It seems complicated at first, but our students are digital natives, and they can do amazing things when given the tools!

Jordan Seigler is a fifth-grade teacher at Charles Dickens School and has been teaching for seven years. Jordan has a Bachelor of Science in education, and is working on a master’s degree in instructional technology. She has taught all of the lower elementary grades, and is certified PreK–3 with a 4-5 endorsement. Jordan became a teacher after growing up in foster care and having excellent teachers who encouraged her and helped her achieve. She is also an alumna of Teach For America. When not teaching, Jordan can be found reading, playing video games, or visiting friends.