Intro to Architecture at "Minds in Motion" - Westport

The 3Dux/design team gave the Westport second grade students a taste of architecture with our Tiny House Challenge. We couldn't believe how well this group of 6-7 year olds were able to incorporate geometry, engineering, design thinking and collaboration into their projects. 

It started with a prompt...

modern house model with cardboard

 You just graduated from architecture school and are on your very first job. A young family of three with a baby (and one pet) want you to design their dream home. In this exercise, you will have the opportunity to create the perfect living space for them; to design and decorate it as you choose.  

But wait, there are some rules. The space will be 100 square feet by 12 feet tall and your challenge is to add everything this family would need in that space to live! (notice, it’s a dream home because seriously, they must be dreaming!!!)

Using 3dux/design connectors and recycled cardboard, your task is to imagine, design and then build the perfect tiny home for this young family. 

Students each received a 16x16 inch cardboard "floor" and were shown how to create a 1" square grid. We explained that one square inch will represent one square foot in this model to help them calculate a 100 square foot floor plan. This was an exercise in geometry, focus, fine motor skills and patience. 

students use architectural tools to create a floor plan for their tiny house

That done, the group was ready to think about designing their space. Some kids were focused on creating a sustainable home and added solar panels along with a fresh water collecting system.7 year old gifted student designing a sustainable home with cardboard and 3D printed connectorsThis young lady took advantage of the 12 foot ceiling height and, realizing that this allowed for two levels (as a 6 year old - she is vertically challenged) created a loft-style home with double-height walls and a connecting bridge. student building a bridge with 3Dux/design cardboard and connectors

These girls decided to create double garages for the cars they made at the Maker Faire Nerdy Derby Event next door. It was so nice to see their team-building skills at play as they helped each other. 

collaboration in building a garage with cardboard

They even used the 3Dux/design connectors and cardboard to  create cargo storage in their cars, which they then filled with steel washers to give their vehicle a bit more momentum. parking garage made with 3Dux/design cardboard and connectors

This young lady worked diligently for over an hour meticulously building out her space. She added details including a loft-style bedroom with bed, night table, pillow, blanket a sleeping person and  stairs. She built a private bathroom (upper left), a kitchen with a table (lower left), and living room (bottom right). She was sure to include doors and windows along the exterior. Quite impressive. 

detailed floor plan for the tiny house model made with cardboard

Our first Tiny House Challenge was a huge hit and the kids went home with a true taste for what it is like to be an architect. They also had the opportunity to learn about geometry, 2D and 3D spatial concepts, design thinking, problem solving, and collaboration. And the best part was that they thought they were just playing! That's the beauty of play-based learning. 

Want 3Dux/design at your school?  Have 3Dux/design and need some more ideas for your class? 

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