Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Creating Cities of the Future

Remember the movie WALL-E? Everyone was evacuated from Earth to live on a fully automated luxury spaceship to spend five years on a cruise in space while the earth was cleaned up by an army of robots - WALL-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth Class). But in the movie the earth is still covered in trash seven hundred years later. Could this really happen? Can man build a spaceship that could sustain life in outer space for seven hundred years?

Children watch cartoons and movies with elaborate futuristic worlds. What if you asked students to create a new city for the future? Where would students choose to build a city? What would the city be like? How would the city be built? Would students create a city where everything could be easily controlled by computers? What would students include in their cities – housing, food, schools, entertainment, and jobs? Lots of questions.

Do you think only cartoons and movies have futuristic worlds? Let’s look at The Seasteading Institute: http://www.seasteading.org/
In February the Seasteading Institute announced a contest for architects, engineers, students and hobbyists to design a seastead, a permanent, stationary structure that is specifically designed for long-term living in a marine environment. Participants were given a patented 3-D model of a seasteading platform to create an architectural design. The winners were announced May 18, 2009.

Check out these winning designs:

How can teachers bring real-world projects to their students? What software could teachers use to help students create future cities and worlds? How about Google SketchUp?


Students can create 3D models and share them with their friends. There are Training Videos, a warehouse of models that people have created to give students ideas, and a section that covers a list of features. Teachers can access the K-12 SketchUp for Educators section to learn about the free version and the Pro version.

Teachers and students can begin with the self-paced tutorials to learn the concepts of modeling with SketchUp from Google. Check out this Introduction to SketchUp:
Other tutorials are located here:

To help you get started check out the 3D Vinci site for K-12 ideas using SketchUp.

Image found at Google: http://sketchup.google.com/

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