Applications of 3D Studio Max 5

                                           NSF STEER PROGRAM, CSULA, 2003


Applications of 3D Studio Max 5.0 in Geometry


Kimberly L. Davis, Teacher

JohnC.FremontSenior High School

Abstract-  To implement 3D animation into the geometry curriculum in order to facilitate students’ identification and comprehension of fundamental geometric concepts.


Terms- 3D Studio Max 5.0 (3DS Max)



Many students in inner-city schools have difficulties grasping the geometric concepts of area, perimeter, volume, and surface area. Using the 3-D modeling and animation capabilities of 3D Studio Max 5.0 software, students will be able to fully explore and gain greater comprehension of various geometric shapes. Students will be able to explain these concepts verbally and/or, in writing. The API scores (the results of standardized testing) for math, for my students, are expected to increase at least 5 points.


3D Modeling and Animation Incorporated within the Geometry Curriculum


For the STEER Program Research Project, I worked in the Multi-Media and Animation Technologies Incorporated in Engineering Systems (MATIES) Laboratory. The primary function of the MATIES Lab is 3D modeling and animation of the space telescope and of the aircraft.

Technologies that are utilized in the lab include 3D Studio Max 5.0, OpenGL, and Visual C++. These software programs have such capabilities as modeling 2D or 3D figures, animation, and controlling how the telescope and aircraft will be modeled and/or animated. 


This year I am teaching Geometry. Topics that will be covered include, but are not limited to, identifying common geometric figures, area, perimeter, being able to determine the number of edges or faces for various geometric figures, surface area, and volume. This project will enhance the current curriculum by giving students the means to visualize and explore geometric figures in different capacities.


3DS Max was used to construct a cube that was “opened up” (surface area), put back together (discussion on edges and faces), then hollowed out using the Boolean function and filled with water (volume). What will really impress the students are the rotational properties of the program.    


In order to implement this technology into the current curriculum, additional lesson-planning time will be necessary, along with purchasing the software. Students will become excited and want to try the program.


At present, there are only four computers per classroom at Fremont. Lessons will need to become modular so that groups of four can use the program at a time. My concern is that if students do not get a chance to work with the program as quickly as they would like, they might lose interest. Support for the program may be possible through the comedian Steve Harvey who has already contributed much to Fremont and/or additional grants.


It is expected that studentsÂ’ academic scores will improve by one to two grades. Standardized test scores for my students are expected to increase at least five points. It is believed that students will become excited about their education which will be displayed by an improvement in attendance and study skills, along with increased participation in class.




In the future, 3D technologies will prove to be invaluable across all disciplines. Students often receive information better when there is a model before them as opposed to merely lecturing and giving out assignments. Modeling is already in place in my lesson plans and these technologies will take my lessons not only one, but a few steps further.