This is how I began to introduce scale on the small sketch. 1 square equals 1 foot on the sketch paper. We used a quarter inch grid for sketches. We measured some items in the room to get a feel for scale. Chairs needed to be at least a square and a half wide. Counters needed to be between 2 and 3 squares deep. A bed needs to be 6 squares long and at least 3 squares wide. We measured a large room and a smaller one so they could have an idea of what the space would feel like.
When sketches were done, we shared them. Often the ideas presented by one student was added by another. Tree house with an indoor swimming pool? Why not? Some had more practical ideas, others, not so much. I didn’t squash the silly ideas though we did talk about the issues that they might cause.
While all this sketching and planning was going on I was preparing for the next part, the architectural models. My concern was the use of exacto blades for my students and to minimize the necessity for them. To that end I pre-cut some parts that students could customize with scissors and when an Exacto was needed, I had a cutting station for students.
I used 20 x 30 in. foamcore boards that were about 1/4 inch thick. I glued extra large graph sheets to the foamcore with spray glue. (The paper I used was from eNasco.com, item number TB17689T) The thing I learned was to place the paper face down on a table, tape the corners down to lightly stretch the paper. Spraying the foamcore outside, returning, and slowly placing it on the paper, pressing firmly, then turning it over, and using a brayer to give a final pressing. I tried to line it up so the grid was square to the foamcore. The pattern does show through so it’s not hard to do.
Then I used a large paper cutter to cut 2 inch strips of foamcore with grid paper glued on, that would later become walls. I use to cut strips with a drywall t-square and a box cutter but the large paper cutter is faster. The new scale for building would be one square was equal to four feet. I discussed this with students, explaining that modular homes are based on the idea of building materials are mostly 4 x 8 ft.
I set up a hot 3 hot glue stations around the perimeter of the room. They were told to glue one wall or object at a time as needed. This cut down on people "hogging" the glue guns. We did not do a roof or covering, but kept models open so the interior could be seen. Early finishers were encouraged to use patterned paper to add rugs or additional items to personalize their homes.
This was a long but worthwhile unit. Each design was unique, and they learned about engineering, math, geometry, spatial relationships, and problem solving. The pride in their finished projects is obvious.
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