High School Civil Engineering and Architecture Class Inspires First Grade Students

Wendy Stearns is a PLTW Engineering and math teacher at Schalmont High School in Schenectady, New York. She is the co-facilitator for the Schalmont Teacher Institute and for the high school facilitation team. She is also involved with the high school’s drama club and National Honor Society.

Each year, the students in my Civil Engineering and Architecture class at Schalmont High School work with clients – typically principals or teachers in the school district – to design residential structures in order to refine their computer-aided design (CAD) skills using Autodesk. This year, my class, which is made up of juniors and seniors, chose to engage in a project where they designed a “home” for first graders in our district.

I allowed my students to use whatever style they thought the elementary students would enjoy looking at while making them complete the typical requirements (floor plan, render, 3D, furniture, etc.). One of their houses was even in the shape of a fish.

Meanwhile, students in the first-grade class, taught by co-teachers Sarah Scotti and Alicia Madej, used a Google Slides template to create maps of their bedrooms. The lesson helped them practice dragging, sizing, and rotating objects.

My students presented their designs to the first graders virtually, allowing the younger students to ask questions and share their own bedroom designs.

“There were a lot of laughs, and I now have a lot of first graders who have decided they are already engineers,” Mrs. Scotti shared.

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