REDMOND, OR -- Redmond Proficiency Academy high school students are jumping on the Tiny House bandwagon, in a special one-month engineering class. Science and math teacher Amy Mitchell says her students are creating presentations, prototypes, and eventually, their own tiny house. "We talked about why people would want to live in tiny houses, so they’re including that in their presentation. And, they’re [writing] from the point of view of what kinds of problems does a tiny house help families solve: affordable housing, environmental issues, things like that. We talk a lot about drawbacks, and they have to include that in their presentations." Local tiny house builders have shared their creations with the class and are providing feedback on students' scale models.
Mitchell is designing her own tiny house alongside her students and says she’s learning a lot from them. "Their minds work a lot better than mine at organizing things – ‘How can I fit these things into this space in the most compact, economical way possible?’ Storage is probably one of the biggest challenges in a tiny house. They have all kinds of cool ideas that I have not thought of."
Mitchell says the class is part of the new Next Generation Science Standards that focuses on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). "And they require all students, grades 9-12, to go through the engineering process. So, we have a problem that we’re trying to solve, we come up with multiple solutions for it, pick one solution and design a prototype – the prototype is their model tiny house. And, they make decisions on what parts do they want to keep and what parts can they improve. That process is the engineering design process."
The charter school offers students the opportunity to focus on a single course of study during the short January Term. They will share their creations at the January Showcase, on Wednesday, January 20.