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- A project of LSF
This ESD unit places mathematics at the forefront of a comprehensive critical thinking project. Students must design a “green” building, applying both math skills and sustainability principles. The goal of the resource is to increase awareness of sustainability while using and applying mathematics in a real-world context.
Students design a 1200 square foot house, keeping their budget under $240,000. Math topics covered include fractions, decimals, percent, central tendency (mean, median, mode), measurement, area of 2-D shapes, spatial relations, scale, estimation, unit conversions, graphing, and financial math. Throughout the lesson sequence students analyze the economic, environmental and social implications of their lifestyle choices and of their construction plans. They also learn to calculate interest on a bank loan, practice measuring and converting measurements used in designing floor plans, and analyze the cost of different types of construction materials. Students create a final budget and build a 3-D model of their house.
Each lesson can be delivered in a “stand alone” fashion to introduce or supplement individual math outcomes or the entire unit can be implemented in sequence throughout the year to support the existing curriculum. Students can create a “Design portfolio” and collect/compile their project work as the activities relevant to the math curriculum are completed.
Lesson One: Whose House? (3 X 60 min.)
As the first step in designing their “green” houses students view a Power Point Presentation showing the homes of various celebrities. This activity begins the discussion of sustainability and social equity.
Students are then introduced to the requirements, expectations and assessment methods of the project. They complete a concept map of their dream home along with a specifications sheet and a math skills concept map.
Lesson Two: Intended Occupants (optional)
This lesson is a quick math literacy activity which asks students to envision and describe the people who will live in the house they design.
Lesson Three: Leave Only - (2 X 60 min)
Students consider how their everyday decisions impact their futures and those of generations to come by analyzing consumption patterns and calculating ecological footprints. After sharing their findings, students illustrate their footprint calculations in graphic format.
Lesson Four: Design Graphic- (1 X 60 min.)
Students use a decision-making graphic to weigh the environmental and economic impacts of two houses, one made of straw bales and one made of wood timber. Students then calculate means for the rating scale on both the economic and environmental criteria. They communicate this data using their choice of bar graphs, line graphs, pictographs or pie charts.
Lesson Five: All A Loan. Pt. 1- (1 X 60 min.)
Students calculate the percentage of each color of M&M candy found in a bag of M&Ms, and communicate this on a bar graph.
Lesson Six: All A Loan. Pt. 2- (1 X60 min)
Using the percentage of one color of M&M candy as an interest rate, students calculate the principle interest to be paid on a bank loan to finance their house.
Lesson Seven: Measurement Madness – (1 X60 min.)
After a brief introduction to the ways and means of measuring and converting units using equivalent fractions, students complete a measurement chart which converts inches to ½ inches and ¼ inches.
Lesson Eight: Scale the Wall- (2 x 60 min)
Students brainstorm what tools and skills an architect would use to create a floor plan. They are assigned classrooms within the school to measure. After first estimating the area of the rooms, the lengths and widths are measured and students create scale floor plans using graph paper.
Lesson Nine: Hit the Deck - (3 X 60 min)
After reviewing how to determine the perimeter and area of rectangles and triangles, students are given floor plans and asked to determine the areas of these composite shapes. They are then asked to draw floor plans for rectangular, triangular, and circular and parallelogram-shaped decks of specified areas.
Lesson Ten: Drafting Bubbles- (2 x 60 min.)
Students develop a series of potential house plans estimating the square footage and spatial layouts of the rooms. Using graph paper and draft design sheets students design their “green’ home.
Lesson Eleven: The Final Floor- (2 X 60 min)
Using proper scale and the skills associated with linear measurement, students draw the final floor plan for t their house, incorporating the required specifications.
Lesson Twelve: Greenhouse- (2 X 60min)
Students complete a construction estimate list and calculate the cost of required materials. They must research material options for foundations, walls, windows, roofing, and heating and cooling systems in terms of their environmental and economic implications. They then share this information in a jigsaw activity. Finally, students calculate the total cost of their design.
Lesson Thirteen: Thermal Resistance Activity- (1 X60 min.)
In this simple hands-on activity, students will learn what the ‘R=value’ means in energy efficient design.
Lesson Fourteen: Final Budget- (2 x 60 min)
Students calculate their final budget costs, taking into consideration the materials / construction costs and sales tax. They also must write cheques and balance their transaction register.
Lesson Fifteen: Build-A-Math (3 x 60min.)
Students will calculate how much of the building material is needed to create a 3-D structure and then build the structure to scale.
This resource can be implemented as either a stand alone unit linking math, science and broad based technology curricula, or as a yearlong math project with embedded skills, supporting the math curriculum taught in the classroom. This second choice is best suited for addressing outcomes in Grade 6 or Grade 7 math classes. This ongoing math portfolio would culminate in the final building project.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives
This resource increases the awareness of sustainability issues by asking students to use data sets to investigate the world around them. Students use math skills to solve problems, reach conclusions, and come to new understandings.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions
Students analyze their own lifestyle preferences and the economic, environmental, and social implications of non-sustainable housing choices.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
This resource clearly demonstrates the complexity of environmental issues associated with sustainable lifestyle choices.
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning
There is no action project .
|Acting on Learning:
Learning moves from understanding issues to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community, or for the planet
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans
|Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
|Personal Affinity with Earth
Sustainable choices (needs vs wants) are paramount in this resource. The promotion of these attitudes are important first steps for planet stewardship.
|Personal Affinity with Earth:
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
Students calculate their ecological footprints, complete their own design and carry out serveral learning tasks in a real-world context.
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future
Present day situations are evaluated and students are asked play a role in implementing solutions for a future of sustainable housing.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.
The resource provides "real world" data and statistics for students to analyze. Students are encouraged to consider this information, make sustainable choices, and create their own solutions.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
Although the activities are varied and creative, the resource addresses, for the most part, math and science outcomes.
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
The resource teaches to both the cognitive and affective domains. There are no suggestions given for differentiation of the math lessons for students working below grade level.
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
Students are given opportunities to gather and record measurements in a real-world context. There is also a "hands-on" learning opportunity associated with heat loss.
Authentic learning experiences are provided
There is a jigsaw activity in one of the lessons.
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation
|Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
Case studies are provided in the teacher background information, which can be shared with students.
Relevant case studies are included. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore concepts in an authentic context.
|Locus of Control
Students have entire control over their final housing project, including design, and choice of construction materials.
|Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.