The following description was sent to me by Clive Dawes, Kellett's ICT Curriculum Leader:
Here are Clive's students working on SketchUp. Such young kids, and they're getting a great handle on complex geometry.
Kellett Schoolin Hong Konghave been using Google Sketchup to help them investigate tessellation of shapes. Many of the ideas for the project, which was tackled by Year 3&4 students, came from the resource "Single Polygon Patterns," published by 3D Vinci.
Having spent some time trying out the activities for myself, I then created screencasts using Jing of myself demonstrating the techniques. Students were then introduced to Sketchup and spent time drawing some of the basic shapes they already knew using the polygon tool.
After seeing me tessellate squares, students then investigated which other basic shapes could tessellate. Techniques such as ‘select all’ and ‘copy & move’ were easy for the students to master, but accurate use of ‘endpoint’ was challenging for some and this resulted in some untidy attempts at tessellation. Students soon realized that not many basic shapes could be tessellated without leaving gaps but some predicted that the triangle would work if only it could be “turned upside down.” We then introduced the rotation tool and a screencast was used to reinforce the techniques as some found it tricky to master.
From there students worked at their own pace creating a variety of tessellated patterns, some extremely complex. A number of students were able to develop designs with gaps as shown in the resource.
All our Year 4 students worked on tessellating irregular quadrilaterals and the vast majority of them were able to use the component tool to add intricate designs and patterns. They used the line tool and the arc tool as well adding shapes within their tessellations. They were very creative and produced some amazing work.
We also looked at 3D shapes and investigated some of the ideas outlined in 3D Solids Book One, namely the cuboctahedron, the truncated cube and the stellated octahedron. Having learnt how to draw these myself I was impressed with how little time it took for the students to replicate these models. They were much quicker than me!
To present their work students exported their images as 2D graphics, zooming in to highlight their accurate tessellations. All of them were also able to create animations of their 3D shapes.
Students spent around five hours in total working in Sketchup and around 50% of them had downloaded it at home by the end of the work. Our work in 3D was not developed as much as I would like and I hope we can have chance to focus on this more next year. I also plan to look at other ideas such as symmetry, rotation and transformation.
As a result of the module, students are able to talk more confidently about shape and can explain clearly about tessellation. I feel that using Sketchup gives the students a much clearer understanding of the concept of tessellation.
This is the third year we have used Sketchup at Kellett, but it is the first time our work has targeted an area specifically within the Mathematics curriculum. All of our previous work had been concerned with 3D design, usually around the construction of holiday apartments, or mini-cities. The shape module has been a huge success and was noted upon in our recent OfStEd inspection, which stated;
“Older pupils are treated with notable maturity: whether in (a Kellett Tell-It editorial meeting), or a ICT lesson using Google Sketch-Up to tessellate squares, activities often feel like those of a sixth form, rather than a primary school: and the children live up to these very high expectations.”
Using 3DVinci's resources allowed us to develop ideas away from the design type activities and use Sketchup to tackle specific concepts within the wider curriculum in a stimulating and visual manner. We will definitely be returning to this and developing it next year.
Anyone can design anything in 3D! http://www.3dvinci.net/