Liverpool’s junior high school offers a choice of 26 modules to Grade 9 students. Students took their first set of four modules beginning last September and started the second ones Dec. 1.
Dobson says he’s using an award-winning curriculum from the Council of Educational Facility Planners International to teach the course.
Students began by learning the pattern language of architecture. They also went through what the math architects have to understand, which their teacher says is mostly review, such as calculating area, square footage and perimeter.
When students learned about visual elements, they walked around with iPads and a checklist, taking photos of shapes in the school’s architecture.
“This was a way that we could incorporate the technology,” says Dobson. “And it was fun for them. They had a ball with that.”
At the beginning of the design component, students had to draft a floor plan of the classroom to scale.
Following that, students had to draft their dream bedrooms. Once their drafts were finished, they created a three dimensional version of their bedrooms.
Dobsons strolls around the classroom showing the designs of students’ dream bedrooms. The students’ next step in the module, says Dobson, is to design a school.
“They’ll be working with the specifications from the Department of Education and the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. They’ll be using the same specs that the architects were given,” he says.
Dobson says some of the students’ ideas have already been taken into account. When the module began, students made a wish list of what they would want to see in a new school.
The architects have gone to some of the classes to work the students as well.
When students enter the room at 12:40 p.m. for the module, it takes them little time to start working. They find their three-dimensional designs, get their tools, and choose tables or spaces on the floor to work. They are drafting, measuring and cutting moments later.
Cowling says she chose the architectural module because she’s been considering a career in architecture for the past two years. She explains this as she works on her bedroom’s design with an exacto knife.
Also a musician, Cowling says her dream bedroom has a music room with a keyboard and recording equipment.
Mooers shares a workspace with Cowling. Although he’s not sure what he’d like to do as a career, he says he signed up for the module because he likes math and art and liked the sound of it.
The students’ second set of modules finish at the end of the month, at which point there will be a showcase so people can see students’ work.