“Education should not be about building more schools and maintaining a system that dates back to the Industrial Revolution. We can achieve so much more, at unmatched scale with software and interactive learning.” -Naveen Jain
If I were able to be in sixth grade again, I would pray that I’d have the fortune to experience math with Mrs. Coombe. Using interactive notebooks since the beginning of the year, I’ve been so awestruck by the detailed levels of depth and creativity she has inspired in her math students. The coolest project by far, however, has taken place more recently as the students study not just geometry, but apply geometric form and measurement to an authentic Project Based Learning unit on architecture.
Focusing on the skills of measurement, scale, ratio, area, and perimeter, the students were tasked with, “Designing their own dream houses by creating a scale drawing using architecture symbols.” Using price comparison and estimation, the students were then charged with figuring out a logical “price quote” for the papering, painting, and flooring of their imagined homes. As if this project wasn’t fun and interdisciplinary enough, Mrs. Coombe then rolled their designs into a real-world application by having the students present their proposals to a professional architect (Mrs. DeReus’ husband) from A. Perry Homes.
The sixth-grade class took a field trip to the architectural studio, and spent an entire morning: touring, watching the design process, custom home planning, and experiencing a virtual reality trip through a custom home being built right now! From the thrill of watching a career choice lived out before you, to the pride of being a part of something that effectually influences your future (whether in home design, home purchase, or architectural literacy) these students had an unbelievable time.
To finish out the unit on architecture, Mrs. Coombe decided to take the project one step further, and students are now building a scale model of their approved blueprint plans. Using foam board, measuring tools, and a LOT of hot glue, the sixth-grade room is quite literally “Under Construction.” Room by room, line by line, square inch by square inch, this lesson is more than a dream homecoming alive, it is a dream come true to any seeker of an authentic, project-based, and meaningfully interactive curriculum.
The movie Field of Dreams said, “If you build it, they will come,” and I can’t help but see that to be true, as we are all magnetically drawn to the architects of the sixth grade, as we watch their imagination and innovation soar.