Course Curriculum: Computer Applications:CAD

After my quick reflections on the Tea Box project and my computer science course, I’d like to take a spin over to my most successful, challenging and rewarding class(es) this semester.  I had the opportunity to teach 2 CAD courses with a great, energetic group of young men (and one woman).  As the year progressed my classes split into three distinct groups – a developmentally young (think elementary-school-age brains) group, a progressing (middle-school-age brains) and a developmentally-ready (high school or middle school) group.

My CAD course description:

In this course, students will create and build physical and digital representations of the world around them. Piaget’s four stages of cognitive development will frame the instruction to the appropriate cognitive developmental level for each student. Computer Assisted Design is the use of computers and specialized software to create digital objects; be they animations, skyscrapers or the interiors of engines. Students will use Google Sketch Up 8 to re-create and re-imagine the world around them, beginning with a floor-plan of their bedroom and ending with a self-directed project.

What made this course successful?  My answer after the jump.

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Toy Making Jigs

My son has very strong feelings about woodworking show hosts.  “Herm” (Norm) is his favorite – he’s in love with power tools.  Me?  I prefer St. Roy. In this episode, St. Roy discussed and built several toys from 18th century America.  I was especially fascinated by the jig he uses to create small parts.  I saw an opportunity to move the jig into the classroom, especially as I wanted to build small wooden sculptures made from patterns created in Google Sketch Up.  I can’t say much about the project yet – somethings work, somethings don’t.  It’s quickly running away from … Continue reading Toy Making Jigs

The Google Sketch Up Lab

This year, I’ve been working closely with another colleague to create, a project-based CAD course.  When I was presented with the challenge, I dove in head first. This week I have been presenting various perspective/drawing challenges to my students in an effort to assess their current capabilities.  I’ve been enjoying a curriculum challenge, and after two days, I am pleased by the success and interest posed by my students.  The room has been split into three themed stations: a perspective/assessment area, a guided-step project area and a digital manipulative lab. The assessment area has produced some fascinating results.  When confronted … Continue reading The Google Sketch Up Lab

Bookshelf in Mission Style

This bookshelf recently left the workshop at school.  The bookshelf started life as an illustration in The Project Gutenberg EBook of Mission Furniture, by H. H. Windsor, otherwise known as the good fellows at Popular Mechanics. Which the student modified to suit the schools current needs.  The CAD mock-up looked like this: In the end, the piece had to be painted. Paint hides all flaws when it comes to salvaged wood. Pretty excited about the finished product.  Here’s a close up of the butt joints used on the shelving, as well as a shot which showcases the inch-thick reclaimed mahogony shelves. … Continue reading Bookshelf in Mission Style

This Week In the Classroom: Computers Ain’t Everything

Took over our conference room to work through some design challenges today.  My students used Google SketchUp to start creating jewelry boxes, art car vehicles and bookshelves. During the Art Car class, I led the group building a 3D model on the big (like 50-60″ screen) TV.  Computers+big screen TV+3d modeling software+we are building a car =  interested, motivated students.  Or so I thought.  I turn around, two students are asleep. I have only three kids on the dang project.   Terrible numbers.  Mendoza line terrible. I quickly got out the sketchbooks and pencils.  More success, more interaction. So, what I … Continue reading This Week In the Classroom: Computers Ain’t Everything