It’s beginning to look like I’m on the advertising team for Google lately given my past blog posts but I have to tell you about one more thing, Google-related, that I ran across that I thought you might find interesting.

This site called 3DVinci, created by Bonnie Roskes, has tons of resources for ways to teach math concepts but the main thing they turned me on to was how to use Google Sketchup to teach geometry concepts.  I’ll be the first to tell you that I stink at math, especially geometry.  I also have a really hard time with visualizing 3D objects.  Going through some of these simple video tutorials offered on their sight opened up a whole new world for me.  I was able to create objects in 3D, not just draw them, and them move them around, see them from all sides.  It was amazing and really very easy.

Google SketchUp is a 3D modeling application that is free and works on both Mac and Windows.  Now if you’re like me you are probably thinking 3D modeling sounds like more than you can get into but trust me when I say it’s not hard to do at all.  While this application can be used to do very detailed 3D renderings of buildings and other objects it can also be used to create basic geometric forms and that’s what is focused on in the 3DVinci tutorials.  There is also a great community of users, many of whom are educators, that can help you through as you’re getting started.

Getting Started

Start off by downloading SketchUp.  Once you do that, you may want to take a quick Getting Started Tour, just to familiarize yourself with the interface.  Then dive straight into Bonnie’s videos.  I started with Creating Easy Tessellations in Google SketchUp.   You’ll have so much fun!

Bonnie and 3DVinci have many other videos posted on YouTube.  Check them out at http://www.youtube.com/user/bonnieroskes and make sure to click the “Show All” link in the right side menu or you won’t see them all.  Here’s a short list of just a few of the lessons on this site:

  • Making an Icosahedron
  • 2D Tesselation: the Hirschorn Tile
  • Divide a Cube into Three Pyramids
  • Conic Sections

In addition to the videos there are also pre-created models that you can download and use.

Resources and Links