Wednesday, April 23, 2014

General Tech Tool: SketchUp

This next tech tool is one that I have never used personally, but that I have had many students use quite successfully. This tool has been extremely valuable to my students for creating 3D models of final product designs that are either too big or too costly to create the physical model for. Students are able to take a number of ideas into consideration and play around with their model to see the feasibility of it. The 360 viewpoint is also a key asset as it helps to establish a reality for the product created with the tool. As I have not used the tool myself, I will first let a classmate of mine, William S. evaluate the tool and then I'll get into the uses in a PBL classroom


Curator: William S.

Name of Tech Tool: SketchUp

Brief Description of Tech Tool: SketchUp is a free application for doing 3D modeling. It's intended as a tool for designing things (e.g., houses, sculptures, toys), but can also be used to support teaching and learning of some geometry.
(It was previously Google SketchUp but it is now Trimble SketchUp).

Additional Information

Add links to information about the tool, ideas for activities, etc.

Getting Started with SketchUp

  1. Download the SketchUp application from The free version works fine. Be sure to download the appropriate version for your operating system.
  2. Install SketchUp on your computer and launch it.
  3. Explore.
    1. Find video tutorials on how to use SketchUp at
    2. Find video tutorials on using SketchUp to draw 2D and 3D figures at

SketchUp Resources

Student Example

Here's a demonstration of slicing prisms by a 6th-grade student using SketchUp. These demos were created in conjunction with activities being field tested for CMP (Connected Math) curriculum.

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How SketchUp Supports and Supplements PBL/PrBL

SketchUp provides a dynamic modeling tool to create some phenomenal 3D structures. This tool is instrumental to my students in creating mock-ups of the final products they are choosing to create for their projects, and will prove invaluable to me next year when I teach "The Art & Architecture of Geometry" as a math elective. This tool could be used in a number of ways with various Problems or Projects, but due to the complexity and intricacy that SketchUp supports, I find it best for full-scale projects, as students tend to get wrapped-up in the tool and want longer times to work with it.