Designing An Eco-friendly Building Part 4

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SWBAT determine the best idea for a eco-friendly building.

Big Idea

Using their design ideas, students create a model of their eco-friendly building.

Creating the Model

30 minutes

In Friendly Home Part 3 the students worked to develop and explain three designs. In this section, the students use their research from Part 1 to dimension the designs. One of the research questions I asked students to look up is the dimensions of buildings.  In their research they have an image of a floor plan and a link to a source. I explain that they can use this image or they can find another example.

To help students evaluate designs, I use a strategy called Give One, Get One. Students move around looking at each other plans to give an idea and get an idea. This strategy is an effective way for students to share ideas. Group work is promoted because students can ask one another, "Is this bathroom too small? What are you using?"  In addition, I let the kids count the tiles on the floor of my room to get an idea of lengths and widths. 


Students choose the idea they like best to record the dimensions. Students explain why they think it is the best solution in a one-two sentence summary. 

Determining the Best Solution

30 minutes

Each student has their own design dimensioned. I look over the designs and group students according to their designs. For example if there is a group with a multi-family building, they work together. There may be single-family home groups. I ask the students to evaluate the design solutions.

I use a graphic organizer called a Decision Matrix. Here are some Student Samples of its use by my students. My strategy is Quantifying Solutions. One of the engineering practices is to evaluate design solutions to determine the best solution. Using their own designs, students quantify their criteria and the designs using a decision matrix.  

I begin by asking students what criteria is necessary for an effective eco-friendly building.  I ask them to complete the Criteria for an effective design. Then students write their names by the ideas and give a number for each criteria. For example, if a recreation center is important and a design doesn't have one, the number will be a 1. Students add up all the numbers to determine which is the best design solution according to the criteria. 

Defending the Design

30 minutes

Students have a paper and pencil model, a 3D model, and they have their eco-friendly material list from the Eco-Friendly Products lesson. The task is to defend their model. My strategy is Real Life Application. Students write a persuasive essay, extolling the virtues of their design. In tihe video below I am describing the economic high stakes of the design defense. 


My strategy is Bullet Point Plan. I ask the students to use eco-friendly building materials and building design benefits to defend their design. In their notebooks they write 10 bullet points, five eco-friendly materials and 5 design ideas. 

We discuss the rubric together. "What do you think you must have?" I ask the students to go back to their Decision Matrix to determine how well they used the criteria. I use a Design Defense Rubric Checklist to evaluate the design defenses.  

In the slides, Eco Building Defenses I've shown some samples of my Bullet Point Plan and the subsequent final draft of the design defense. 

Communicate the Design

15 minutes

My strategy is a Gallery Walk. Students go to computers and evaluate the designs of their class mates. I ask each person to put a post-it on the table for positive comments. Students have a decision matrix and evaluate the designs of their classmates. When all the designs have been evaluated, we discuss which is the best design solution.