Making room for 3D thinking


By Mr. Dan Behmer

Students in Ms. Quiñones’ art class for grades 7 – 8 took their designing and artistic skills to new dimensions as they created proportional 3D “dream room” models with the help of online software last October and November.

Students worked in small groups and decided on the concepts for the models they would make, based on their unique interests. They ultimately designed and created models for culturally-themed and futuristic rooms, children’s rooms, and various bedrooms, dining, and living rooms.

After students decided on directions for the room models, they used, an online design application, to create simulated 3D representations of the room models that they would build. The application allowed the students to create and color shapes and put the shapes together to represent items in the rooms, such as chairs, tables, sofas, cabinets, and beds.

Once students completed the representations of their room models with the software, they could begin constructing the actual 3D models. Students needed to think of the best materials to build the items in the models, and be creative in choosing the details to represent. Ms. Quiñones guided students to discover how to improve their projects and provided feedback to point students in the right directions, so students could answer their own questions about how to build their rooms. In addition, Ms. Quiñones encouraged students to “be creative in their own ways” and to “go beyond what I have said in the instructions,” she said.

Some students went above and beyond the original parameters for the assignment by including greater detail in the interior of the models. For example, Tina, an eighth grade student, used clay to create miniature, modeled plates with hamburgers and a miniature vase with flowers. Other items represented in miniature included modeled curtains, pillows, blankets, Christmas trees and computers.

After completing their projects, students wrote reflections to describe what they learned, and a number of them cited the importance of planning and patience, and thinking proportionally. Seventh grade students Stephen and Nicole wrote, “We learned about how much time it needs to take, and how we need to measure things before making them, and then realizing there wasn’t enough space.” Seventh grade students Gusma, Christine, and Deanne wrote, “You need to be patient in doing the biggest to the smallest detail in this project.”

Ms. Quiñones stressed that encouraging students to choose engaging themes for the model- making was an important factor that motivated students to do their best work. “You cannot do something successfully if something does not catch your interest,” she said.

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