Lesson plan utilizing Chichén Itzá data now online

Cathedral City High School teacher creates lesson plan from 3D data online at CyArk

by Suzanne Delahanty
May 15, 2013
Guest blogger: Suzanne Delahanty MA, works as a high school instructor for Palm Springs Unified School District at Cathedral City High School, and is the creator of the school’s ACE Design & Technology Career Pathway program. In addition, Ms. Delahanty teaches architecture and psychology courses at a local College. Among the subjects she teaches (and practices) are computer-aided drafting (CAD), art education, industrial design, psychology digital design and the history of architecture.

As a Palm Springs technology and design teacher, I utilized CyArk's digital resources to create an exciting California Technology Education (CTE) lesson, while also incorporating many common California Core Standards, like: social studies, multiculturalism, history, science, math, and art into the unit's curriculum. Students in Intro to Design teamed up and built 3D chipboard scale models and realistic landscape sets of the El Castillo pyramid of Chichén Itzá using primarily recycled and found materials. Advanced Design students created 3D computer-generated scale models of the temple and applied photo-realistic rendering and animation techniques.

Students at Cathedral City High School learned about high tech surveying and scanning tools such as those employed by CyArk and its partners to create accurate measurements of the El Castillo monument. Specifically, the curriculum was created using the 3D laser scans and high definition two dimensional images of El Castillo which can both be found on the CyArk Chichén Itzá Digital Preservation site. This curriculum offers interdisciplinary learning progression opportunities for any level student and in many other subjects, from Kindergarten to 12th grade. Students also learned blueprint reading, basic engineering and geometry principles by interacting with CyArk's interactive 3D point model of El Castillo and the actual plans generated from it.

The unique relationship between math, science, culture and architecture becomes apparent within this lesson unit. As students begin to learn about this amazing monument, they start to see the inter-relationship of various different disciplines and areas they study. Students are first presented with intriguing information about the ancient Mayan monument. The lesson starts out as a web-research treasure hunt, where teams must research to find answers to 10 mystery questions; students do not even know what they are building at the start, until they research the various clues! Because so many of our students at Cathedral City High School are Mexican American, this particular lesson also presents a special significance to our students.

Check out more photos of the students’ completed models on our program’s new official web site:
Physical scale model of El Castillo built by students in the Intro to Design course at Cathedral City High.
A wire frame view of the computer-generated 3D model of El Castillo built by Advanced Design students at Cathedral City High.
Related Projects:
Chichén Itzá