Saturday, May 21, 2016

Cherry Creek Student Build a Tiny House

If you spend any time watching the immensely popuar House & Garden Network - HGTV - then you are aware of the tiny house movement. People across the country are taking "downsizing" to a whole new level with homes that are often no bigger than the size of a contemporary bathroom. Whether it's part of the de-clutter and simplify phase of a society that's reacting against decades of materialistic expansion, or if it's just an economic necessity to purchase a smaller abode in a country where property values have once again gone north of sanity, the interest in tiny houses is real.

But where do these tiny houses come from, and is there anything students can learn from the movement? Those are the questions being asked and answered by a group of students at Cherry Creek High School. Kids of Jeff Boyce's Environmental Science class have been pursuing knowledge and experience while designing and building a tiny house over the past year. Here's some coverage of their efforts:

A former contract environmental scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency, Boyce said the tiny house provides valuable insights into sustainable building practices. The house is being outfitted for solar panels. Boyce said that once students help put them in place, they will be linked to a computer system that will display how much power the panels are generating, how much the house is using, and how much power is required to do normal everyday things like charge a smart phone or laptop, among other things.
"It's a teaching tool that I can use to talk to kids about energy efficiency, resource consumption, conservation and their practices at home," Boyce said. The work students put in also has provided hands-on experience that could be valuable in a variety of jobs, Boyce said, including fields that are in high demand right now like renewable energy. "The STEM application — really making science real — that's what the tiny house is all about," Boyce said. "That's what my environmental sciences curriculum is all about. It's providing a foundation so kids can do more than work at the jobs they are doing right now."
Students who took part in the tiny house project sacrificed hours on the weekends to participate. Several of them said they were surprised by just how much they learned through workshop sessions where they watched construction professionals hang siding and perform other tasks before the students tackled them themselves.

No comments: