Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Using Sketchup in Grade 1 - Yes Grade 1!

Today the students in Grade 1 made virtual restaurants as the final activity in the current Unit of inquiry about Healthy Food. The students had already made food drawings using Kidpix and Keynote presentations about what's in their lunch boxes. Today we decided to be risk-takers and try using Sketchup. I was quite prepared to change the activity if it was too hard.

So what happened? Amazing things happened! I am a firm believer that if you can use technologies you should so long as the activity is age appropriate. Some teachers prefer to only use some programs with certain classes. I think that by the time the Grade 1 kids are in Grade 5 (when we usually introduce Sketchup) there will be new software developed anyway.

So we tried it. Only after a few basic instructions the kids were off and running. One boy had finished his base, roof and windows and then went ahead trying out the different fill textures. I told him to 'go for it' and not wait for the teacher.

Soon others were looking at his screen and asking for his help. Even the class teacher was learning from the students. Of course there were some kids that needed extra help and more time - but doesn't that always happen?

By allowing the kids to go ahead the task was quickly completed and the fast finishers were able to help out their friends (which they loved to do).

The results were very good and now the class teacher will repeat this activity during Maths lessons (connecting it with the current work on 3D shapes) to further develop their understanding and skills.

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