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Making 3D structures in SketchUp and measuring surface area in 6th math

I’m working with Catherine Hildebrandt on an activity that incorporates 3D printing into a 6th grade Geometry unit.

Catherine and her 6th graders were examining polygons, prisms, cylinders, spheres, surface area, and volume anyway. So, we thought we’d have kids design shapes, measure surface area and volume, and print out their creations on our Makerbot and Bits From Bytes 3D printers to pass around for their classmates to measure.

Catherine chose to use Google Sketchup for this project, as it is easy to construct an infinite out of shapes using the tool, and it is super easy to set the measurements/distance for lengths in the bottom right toolbox of the SketchUp window. I’d initially suggested Tinkercad, but for this project, I deferred to Catherine’s preference (especially after she spent quality time trying out each program).

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