As a Sketchup nerd I like to think of new and different ways I can use it in lessons, and look at how I can get most from the pupils when I do. While it is incredibly easy to link it to Maths, looking at measure, direction, etc, I often find it hard to give literacy links. Today though I used it as a story telling tool. Pupils were shown the model I had created (below) and we had a great discussion building a story around it. Using it as a setting we decided on characters, plot points and who to build the story around. The descriptive language when describing the castle was great, and having it on the board as a visual learning tool worked really well. The fact there was nothing else but the castle also helped the pupils with their writing. They had the castle, but they had to decide where it was and what its surroundings looked like. Lower ability pupils were able to come up to board and move around the castle, imagining themselves and the centre of the building, while Higher ability look it as a stimulus and wrote pages!
When talking with the class, and having all this discussion it made me think of Epic Citadel. It felt like I had built my own and was getting the same reaction from the kids. They we engaged and enthusiastic about exploring the castle in the same way they are when using the app. Obviously I know it is nowhere near the same level of detail or scale, however it opened up a whole world of opportunities. I could do the same thing on any number of worlds or settings, going from a sprawling city to a visit on a space station. All created by me, to my specification, to get what I want from the pupils. Yes, it might take bit of time and practice, but save it and you have it there for any lesson in the future.
Why not try describing a stay in an Anderson Shelter, or describe life on a pirate ship. You could even try your very own classroom!