SketchUp for Schools introduction lessons

Hello everyone,

My name is Karina and I am a teacher in Sweden. I have just started teaching my classes SketchUp for my Wood work lessons. They are loving it and it is going really well. I am a completely new learner so am trying to learn as I go.

I want to do an activity to get them used to using the navigation tools. I would like to do a sort of treasure hunt. So have items hidden inside and around buildings so they have to use all the navigation tools to locate everything. Does anyone already have something like this that I can use? If I try to make it myself it will take me ages and be rubbish!

Thank you for the help!

I would download a “small town” model from the 3D wharehouse and then add to it the treasure elements.

As a tip you could put all of the town on one layer and your treasure on another layer so at some point you could color by layer in x-ray mode to reveal where all the treasure is ?


Awesome thank you, I thought that was probably the best plan! Just need to figure out the layering myself first… To YouTube!! Thanks :grin:

Just one comment: When you do the layering, please do it right: create all edges and faces with Layer0 active. Gather the edges and faces of a treasure item into a group or component, and then assign your special layer just to the group or component. You can use the same layer for all your treasure or use multiple layers to split it up.

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Thanks for the tip! Can you recommend a good complete begginers instruction video for layering?

Link to SketchUp instruction doc

Basic layer use

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I would make your treasure item(s) and group each one. In the layers area make a new layer + and name it treasure. Select your treasure item(s) and assign them to the treasure layer.

If you bring in a model from the 3D wharehouse it will likely have many layers, which you wont need. So select all of them and click the minus “-” symbol and use the move to default layer option. This will put all of that on layer 0, keeping your other layer as treasure. The students can navigate around the model as normal to try and find them… the “color by layer” option can be a fun way of showing where they all are, by giving the treasure layer a contrasting color and then make the town layer another color with a lot of transparency.

There are many ways to do this, so just a suggestion.



If you are looking for a small town model to hide stuff in, I’d like to recommend this model by Daniel P. He also has tons of great models of individual buildings.

Regarding layers I would recommend to keep some distance to them until you are familiar with other concepts such as groups and components. Layers in SketchUp are not the same thing as layers in Photoshop, Gimp, Inkscape, Indesign etc. Often layers are like boxes or sheets of papers that lets you safely work on them one at a time without your actions affecting what’s on other layers. In SketchUp groups and components has this purpose, and layers are more like tags you apply to object than containers holding them.

Using SketchUp layers and thinking of them as, well, layers can lead to some serious problems down the road. Often new users assign different layers to different objects in the same drawing context, hide one layer, move things around and accidentally merge visible and hidden content, causing them both to morph in unexpected ways as they are moved further. The general rule is to keep all faces and edges to Layer0, and only assign layers to groups and components. To ensure this, the active layer should never ever be changed away from Layer0 (and it is beyond me why SketchUp even allows it to be changed). Instead objects gets assigned layers through the Entity Info inspector.

Layers can be tremendously powerful for power users, but are in my opinion not really needed by beginners. If it was up to me to decide they wouldn’t even be in the free version of SketchUp.

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Thank you for the advice. Yes I am a complete beginner, just keeping a few steps ahead of the students! I will perhaps try to avoid layers for the time being.

Don’t be afraid of layers, they are very useful and easy to use. :wink:
If you want to create that hidden things, then it’s best to assign them to a dedicated layer.

Just remember to keep edges and faces (raw geometry) in layer 0, and when forming a particular element to put them in a group, and assign that group/component to another layer.

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Bonie Roskes has some nice puzzles:

And some other useful stuff:

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As a starting lesson, I tried one with predefined Lego blocks, so all they needed was navigation, the selection tool, and the move/copy tool to start making something.

My experience is it’s interesting for a few minutes, and then they quickly want to move on to something else, so I can’t say it’s a huge success. Perhaps if I gave them a specific thing to make out of the Legos, they’d spend more time with it.


LEGO blocks could be a great way to practice picking an object at a vertex and move that onto the vertex of another object, rather than dragging from just some arbitrary point.

Yes, exactly. That’s the first thing they struggle with.

I’ve created this model for the exact same reason some years back…
(The solution is in German only, but it shouldn’t be to hard to translate, let me know if you need help with this.)