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5th-graders Build a House, Build a Dream

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5th-grade students at Penn Wood Elementary School recently combined their art, math, science, and social studies skills in a project inspired by Habitat for Humanity's Build a House, Build a Dream contest.

Students paired up with each other as part of an Integrated Learning Unit (ILU) to design, build, and market their dream home. In its simplest conception, integrated learning is about making connections across disciplines.

Their first task was to design a 2D blueprint of their house with specific square footage.

"It really helped teach students about spatial awareness," said 5th-grade teacher Brian Cermignano. "Some students designed rooms that you could only crawl through. We used our classrooms and rulers to get an idea of how to measure space."

Once students had their blueprints set, they created a 3D model of their home using Planner 5D, an online tool that creates detailed home plans and modern interior design.

"My favorite part of the project was using the computer software," said 5th-grader Hayley Bennet, who worked with Anna Fow to complete their home.

"The best part was working together," said Fow. "It was neat to build it in our brains, then on paper and then physically build it."

Students also had to design a marketing brochure to sell their homes. They were instructed to price their homes in the $200,000-300,000 range.

Mr. Cermignano designed the ILU with art teacher Annie Seagraves as a way to help students integrate art, math, science, and social studies skills into one project.

"This lesson really reinforced the skills that I've been teaching in art class," said Seagraves. "But, because of the math component, it really encouraged the students to want to make these super-realistic, technical drawings.

Students began working on the dream home project in January. The houses "hit the market" on March 15 during an open house for parents.

 

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