8th Grade SketchUp Unit

This project was done in collaboration with the 8th Grade Science teacher during both the 2020-2021 & 2021-2022 school year. In the past, this project had been done during the engineering unit with this guiding question: “How can I improve the social, physical and aesthetic cityscape that my community inhabits by designing a bridge that is approved by experts in the field?” There was no digital component, and bridges were constructed using physical materials in the school’s Beta Lab.

Because we were remote for most of the 2020-2021 school year, we decided to incorporate a digital component by teaching every 8th grader the basics of SketchUp 3D Modeling Program. We built upon the project in the 2021-2022 school year, and will continue to collaborate on this digital aspect of the project. During the course of this unit, students:

  • Learned how to design bridges using basic functions & shapes in SketchUp for Schools
  • Learned how to navigate the terrain of SketchUp for Schools (including moving, orbiting, and panning around the design)
  • Learned how to scale their work to actual proportions of their designed bridges
  • Recreated digital mock-ups of their bridge blueprints in SketchUp (including the design & construction of towers, road decks, trusses, cables, and more details)
  • Searched and utilized the public SketchUp 3D Warehouse for details such as benches, pedestrians, bicycles, etc.
  • Uploaded aspects of their own designs to the SketchUp 3D Warehouse in order to facilitate collaborative construction with their teammates
  • Accurately exported, and geolocated their bridges within New York City using Google Earth Pro
  • Presented their digital bridges within Google Earth to a panel of professional judges (alongside other components of the unit)
  • Some students: Continued to revise their 3D bridge designs, and had them 3D printed in the school’s Beta Lab

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