NAMS Students Build Model Houses for STEM House Showcase
NAMS students recently celebrated the culmination of year-long STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) House Showcase project that involved designing and constructing model homes incorporating concepts learned throughout the year in Earth Science class. Visit our online display of houses designed and built by Archie Keltz, Erin Murphy, Alex Comiskey, Sarah Francoeur, and Garret Pomfret.
With STEM being a national initiative, and with Massachusetts being one of the states leading the way, NAMS Craig Richard decided to create this project to help get his students exposed to the various careers that fall under the STEM umbrella. He also wanted to add the engineering/technology component to the curriculum to help support technology education teachers get our students ready for the 8th grade MCAS assessment.
Students started the project in September by sketching a “dream room” that they would like to have someday. Next, they drafted a floor plan for that room and gave it some scale. They then moved on to creating whole floor plans that would make up their “dream house”. Once plans were created, students began construction at home and at school. Students were allowed to modify their floor plans during the construction phases (engineering design process) and were graded throughout the year as the phases were completed. Students wrapped things up by creating a portfolio that required them to do some market research and find a selling price for their homes based on the location where it would be built. Classes eventually had 103 homes on display in the library, virtually turning it into a little town.
Technology/engineering works in conjunction with science to expand our capacity to understand the world. Science investigates the natural world. The goal of engineering is to solve practical problems through the development or use of technologies, based on the scientific knowledge gained through investigation. The Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework highlights the expectation that “Grades 6–8 students use knowledge acquired in their mathematics and science curricula to understand engineering. They achieve a more advanced level of skill in engineering design by learning to conceptualize a problem, design prototypes in three dimensions, and use hand and power tools to construct their prototypes, test their prototypes, and make modifications as necessary. The culmination of the engineering design experience is the development and delivery of an engineering presentation.”