Google SketchUp With Young Children

To learn about the Google SketchUp program, first read the article “Google Sketchup – An Introduction”. The introduction is based on the first two Google Sketchup video tutorials.

Google SketchUp Video Tutorial 3

The third Google SketchUp Tutorial Video is all about the push/pull functionality within the application. The push/pull tool works on any flat shape. This tool will push or pull the shapes in a perpendicular direction to the surface.

It’s very cool because you can make the 3-D shape exactly how tall (or wide or deep) you want by starting the pulling/pushing action, typing in a numerical value, and then hitting the enter key. You don’t need a dialogue box to do this! You may enter measurements in imperial or metric. For elementary students in Canada, using metric measurements is preferable. The feature that allows you to enter exact measurements will be difficult for children younger than Grade Four.

The video also explains about the move tool. This video is very visual and a little less complex than the Google SketchUp Video Tutorial 2. It would be excellent to show to Grades Three and Tour but could also be shown to Grade One and Two with pauses to further explain and demonstrate the concepts.

Google SketchUp Video Tutorial 4

Google SketchUp Video Tutorial 4 demonstrates three ways of making a chair using the application. This video is also very cool! It shows that there are different ways in Google SketchUp of doing the same thing. You can use the way that feels most natural to you. This video encourages you to work along in SketchUp and try to make the chair yourself. This activity is a lot of fun to do with children. Making a chair in SketchUp isn’t as hard as one would think. Remember you can cancel any tool action in SketchUp by hitting the ESC button. This video also introduces the tape measure tool. The tutorial then introduces some of the more advanced tools and ways to use Google SketchUp. For younger children, it may be advisable to simply show them the first third of the video where they can practice making a chair though the subtractive method.

I tried this Google SketchUp video tutorial with my seven-year-old daughter. She was very excited about trying it as she had been introduced to Google SketchUp the previous day. She wanted to view the entire video, so she said, but actually only got through making the chair using the first method shown. She was able to make the chair entirely herself except for using “inferring” to make the chair legs all the same width, so we skipped that step. She was very happy with the result and used the fill bucket to paint her chair pink and orange.

The Google Sketchup videos are clear enough for a child to follow along. A good way to use these videos is to show children a video and then have them try what was taught using the Google SketchUp program.

© Celesta Thiessen
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