After teaching Geometry for years I have been looking for a way for my students to play with the shapes that are so central to the subject matter. Daniel Pink in a "Whole New Mind" talks about how the skills of the 21st century will revolve around creativity and design and that these skills should be pervasive in education. Integrating SketchUp into my curriculum teaches mathematics along with these important 21st century skills. I have found that SketchUp is a great way for students to experiment with abstract and realistic geometric shapes in their own creative way. They feel a sense of ownership and control over the mathematics in stark contrast to the shapes and designs shown in textbooks.
My students have enjoyed learning the tools of SketchUp because of their love for computers, and I have found that they can manipulate complex shapes without the drudgery of normal construction tools. I had a student create an icosahedron on the second day of class, I had a discussion about symmetry and Platonic solids in a more natural way than would have occurred if I had presented the material as a lecture.
SketchUp is a much more engaging tool for today's students than tractional compass and straight edge. I am a self-taught SketchUp user and 3DVinci has been a great resource for me to learn how to demonstrate geometrical ideas to my students with technology. Once students have made objects in SketchUp I show them the Geometrical theorems that apply to their work, and not just abstract shapes to which they have no connection.
Geometry is all around us and SketchUp allows students to explore the relationships of shapes that exist in their world in a fun and engaging way. Teaching SketchUp in my classroom always results in comments like "wow", "this is so neat", and "look what I created". Students are asking me questions about Geometrical concepts because they want to create and explore the shapes, not because they need to study for a test.
I have found the material in 3DVinci books to be clear and easy for students to follow.
5th year teacher of Algebra 1, 2, Geometry, Precalculus, Trig
The Community School
Sun Valley Idaho
This absolutely made my day.
Anyone can design anything in 3D! www.3dvinci.net