Monday, June 30, 2014

Architecture School: Day 1

Last summer we did Space School; or at least tried to until my pregnancy with Lady Bug got to be too much and we had to stop. I asked the boys if they wanted to finish it this year and sadly their enthusiasm had waned. So this summer it's Architecture School!
We call him "Builder Boy'' for a reason!

Builder Boy has been talking about becoming a builder for almost four years now. So this summer I decided was a good time to start building the basic skills and knowledge to further that aim. I have been very intentional to tell him multiple times that if he ever decides he wants to do something else with his life that is perfectly fine; that he is not stuck with a choice he made young. So far he continutes to be interested and as time spent on this skill set is not wasted, even if he eventually chooses another profession, I am happy to devote some time and resources to it. Early Bird is happy to be included, even though it is not his ambition.

Our main resources for this summer will be the free to download book Architecture: It's Elementary! generously put out by the American Institute of Architects and Michigan/Michigan Architecture Foundation. Our first two weeks we will also be using 123 I Can Build! which I got for $6 on I have purchased other books in the series before and I like them very much for beginners like my kids. Or myself.

Architecture: It's Elementary! has lessons for grades Kindergarten through 5th Grade. We will be starting at the K level and go through until it becomes too much for Builder Boy. At the Kindergarten level there are actually a lot of vocabulary words that are new to all of us, so it's a good place to start, even if that's not Builder Boy's grade level. Because it is still relatively easy, we did both lesson one and part of lesson two today. (For lovers of the Oxford Comma, be warned: they do not use it. At all.)

Builder Boy's Finds
Level K, Lesson 1 is a review of basic shapes; square, rectangle, triangle, circle, and semi-circle. We did a quick review, defining the shapes, then I had them go around the toy room and find those shapes. We were flexible and generous in the shape finding, as not all elements of architecture in real life are perfect shapes, either.

Early Bird's Finds
They also looked at the provided pictures that I printed out from the book and identified basic shapes in the structures shown.

We skipped tracing and drawing and cutting out the shapes for today.

Level K, Lesson 2 we did not do all of today. But I did have Builder Boy replicate the street scape pictured in the lesson with his blocks. Taking a two dimensional picture and translating it into a three dimensional object is a skill that will prove very necessary if he is to be a builder, so I thought this would be good practice. He did a very good job, and I appreciated how intentional about scale he tried to be. Here's a picture of his results:

After that we moved outside for the first project in 123 I Can Build! The project served to emphasize the need for a strong foundation and to show how strong cylinders are. We used rubber cement to glue a large, heavy rock onto cut toilet paper rolls. On top of the rock we built a city using air dry clay. (I couldn't find our play-dough!) Tomorrow when it is all dry we will paint it. Or rock was very rounded on top, so we could only make two small buildings each. Builder Boy and I made rectangular prism and cylinder buildings, and Early Bird made a dome and a triangle "tent" looking thing.

As an added bonus for Christians, this rock foundation project is a great time to sing the Foolish Man/Wise Man song and talk about Jesus as a strong foundations on Whom we build our lives on. The boys talked about this and came to the conclusion that Jesus is also like concrete, since modern homes are usually build on a strong concrete foundation.

This weekend we also went to Home Depot for some basic supplies for Builder Boy to learn how to hammer a nail. We've been putting out feelers in our church, looking for a retired carpenter who would be willing to pass on skills to a youngster (hopefully for free.) So far we haven't found a teacher, but I promised Builder Boy this would be the summer he learned how to hammer two pieces of wood together, so went to the store. I purchased a small tool box, a small hammer, some nails that an employee recommended, and a 2x4 that they cut down for us (first 2 cuts free!) Home Depot offers free kid classes the first Saturday of every month, 9 am to noon. Builder Boy is very much looking forward to doing that on the 5th with Principal Daddy.

We already had some scrap particle board, so we had Builder Boy learn to set and hammer a nail into that first to get the hang of it. Then he tried hammering a nail into a 2x4 and he learned that that is much harder! I hope I am am teaching him correctly, and am not instilling bad habits that he will have to break once he has a proper teacher. I've made a Kid Carpentry board on Pinterest for ideas for learning and projects he could do. If anyone knows of a good YouTube video or other website with good, extremely basic instructions, I'd love to hear about it!

If you have a young child who is interested in building structures, but isn't quite ready for hammering real nails and wood, then check out my post on how to make a PVC Pipe Building Kit.

1 comment:

  1. AWESOME!!!! Thinking about doing something after they have visit with their father


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...