Eco-friendly Construction Materials

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SWBAT list eco-friendly products in a home and explain why they are considered eco-friendly.

Big Idea

What makes a product eco-friendly? Students research eco-friendly products in an effort to create a list of ways to make a building eco-friendly.


5 minutes

This is a supplementary lesson to my unit Designing for the Future: Eco-Friendly Building. This lesson is designed to help solve a design problem. It is not intended as a stand-alone lesson. Thanks for understanding. 

Research Solutions

20 minutes

In Designing an Eco-Friendly Building Part 2, students developed research questions about eco-friendly materials. My strategy is to use a graphic organizer called Eco Materials Graphic Organizer. Students complete the two columns with information from their research. They must explain the material and why it is considered eco-friendly.

What Eco-Friendly Material Can be Used in Construction?

Why is it Considered Eco-Friendly?

















In this video, I am introducing the T-chart to the students. The T-chart allows the student the opportunity to list a variety of materials and then explain the materials. In the movie I give the example of solar panels and ask the students to discuss why solar panels are considered eco-friendly. 


The students answered, "They use the sun's energy." I agreed, "But what current practice do they help take the place of?" By demanding that the students use their prior knowledge of burning coal for electricity, students develop the understandings that eco-friendly materials use fewer fossil fuels. 


Developing Eco-Friendly Material Solutions

10 minutes

Once the graphic organizer is completed, I ask students to determine the most important eco-friendly materials for the buildings they have designed. I ask them to highlight the materials. This document becomes important in the lesson because students will be asked to offer clients more than one design. They must defend the design and use the ideas from the graphic organizer to promote different designs.

Using this document, students can add or subtract eco-friendly materials according to their energy use as well as their expense. In this video, students explain the five most important eco-friendly materials to include in their design. Students also used what they learned from the Heat Transfer in Architecture: Convection when they mention geo-thermal heating and big windows to let in the sun's warmth. Common-knowledge answers are typically solar panels and CFL light bulbs. I was delighted by the recorded answers in the movie because the students recorded lesser known materials.