Home Education and Careers Small scale, big project: ‘Tiny house’ project allows students to mix statistics,...

Small scale, big project: ‘Tiny house’ project allows students to mix statistics, environmental science

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WILMINGTON — If you ever thought about building a house with a tree growing through its roof, students at St. Elizabeth High School can design it for you, tell you how much it is going to cost and evaluate the environmental impact.

Design students presented their “tiny house” concepts on Jan. 8 at the St. E Center as part of an interdisciplinary project with statistics and environmental science classes. Students worked together in groups with names like “Au-Courant Incorporated,” “Dylagent Designers” and “Tiny

 Students at St. Elizabeth High School are building tiny houses to learn about topics such as budgeting and environmental impact. The work will continue in the spring. (Photo courtesy of St. Elizabeth High School)

Students at St. Elizabeth High School are building tiny houses to learn about topics such as budgeting and environmental impact. The work will continue in the spring. (Photo courtesy of St. Elizabeth High School)

Team” to analyze the needs of particular clients living in specific parts of the country to create a tiny house design taking costs, resources and environmental factors into consideration.

Client demographics and individual personalities also were considered as the designers decided on construction materials. They then created two-point perspective drawings, floor plans, elevations, digital 3D renderings and a scale model. Designs ranged to fit clients with tastes from outdoorsy young, newlyweds to living off an inheritance in Cape Cod to an elderly man with plans to build in Portland.

Sharon Gabor, who has a long history in art and design education, most notably at the Frank Lloyd Wright Home Studio in Chicago, provided feedback.

Statistics teacher John Tomaszewski guided students through the budgeting process. They learned about square footage and itemized all construction materials. They also researched costs per unit and calculated the total number of units needed for such things as wood, glass, sheetrock, etc., to determine the final cost.

In the spring semester, environmental science teacher Julia Downs and her class will examine various aspects of the design, including proposed materials and methods of construction, with an eye toward energy conservation and environmental stewardship.