Monday, April 22, 2013

LBD-MIT Weathering

The mechanical and chemical processes of weathering affect the natural environment, but can also be documented in the built environment.  Mr. Harper's fifth grade class used their iPads to capture weathering images all over the Mitchell campus.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

LBD: NCES Flight-Test and Record

This lesson focuses on the State curriculum regarding "Cause + Effect", and stresses the importance of following instructions and precision of craft to achieve positive results.

The students divided into four groups - each paired with a volunteer. The LBD volunteers guided the groups through folding paper airplanes based on a template provided. An emphasis was placed on patience, following directions and accuracy to reduce mistakes and boost successful flights.

The students flew their planes in a tall height cafeteria. The students took turns and each used a walking tape to measure their flight distance in feet and inches. The data was recorded to compare results.

Student flight paths varied, and one airplane flew the longest at 63'-0", a record for NCES.

The differences in airplane construction was discussed as possible causes for the differing flight paths and students were asked to analyze design differences.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

LBD:SAN - Landforms

The students at Sanders-Clyde have been studying landforms in Mr. Gregory's class, so we took the opportunity to re-use another lesson and teach the students how we as architects take landforms into consideration during the design process.

The lesson began with a brief review of what landforms are, as well as images of homes & buildings built in regards to various landforms, including the desert, the beach or marsh, a cliff, a hill or berm, a mountain, and the arctic. Each of these landforms was presented through images, along with design elements that are unique to the setting the building is in.

The Desert
In the desert, wide overhangs are used to protect from the hot sun. Due to the dry climate, flat roofs are implemented, since they do not have to shed rain. And thick walls absorb daytime heat for cold nights.

The Beach or Marsh
At the beach, buildings are on stilts to protect from flooding, raised for views to the ocean, and the space below the home provides storage or shelter.

A Cliff
A cliff provides natural shelter above. The raised platform provides good views and difficult access, making the area easy to defend. The Native Americans who lived in these communities would use the land above to plant crops, taking advantage of the full sun.

A Hill or Berm
A hill or berm can provide a space for architecture to fit into the land, providing views over the structure. Outdoor space provides a balance to what may be a dark interior space. The land also provides thermal insulation as well, keeping the house cool in the warmer months and warm in the cooler months.

A Mountain
When designing on a mountain, it is best to provide peaked roofs to shed snow and rain. Building with local materials is a way to cut down on labor and cost, and the stacked shape that mimics the slope provides for views of and from the mountains.

The Arctic
Thick, well-insulated walls and windows are a much needed design requirement in the arctic. Again using local materials that absorb the sun are also helpful. Building low, compact forms allows resistance to wind and are easily heated.

Once the presentation was complete, the students were tasked with designing a school. They were split into four groups, and each group was assigned a specific landform. Once they had discussed and sketched their ideas, they presented their drawings to the class. Here are a few photos from the lesson...

The Desert
The Beach
The Mountains
The Arctic

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Peanut Butter & Jelly

A yummy snack turned learning exercise.
Following directions, thinking through a process and having a little fun were the main objectives in this exercise.

Each student had to write and draw exactly how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Just like an architect their plans had to be thorough and actuate. Once they completed their instructions each volunteer chose one set to demonstrate in front of the class. They read the instructions aloud and we all watched as they attempted following the directions.

The students did a wonderful job and the architects got a little messy. A great time was had by all!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

LBD: MIT - Our City Block

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”  Jane Jacobs

After a brief introduction to the basic elements of an urban master plan, Mr. Harper's 5th grade students explored a uniquely democratic approach to urban design in which they worked in groups to develop a master plan for a single city block.  The students were given a site plan and models for two basic building types:  large scale commercial structures and small scale residential structures.  They worked with the existing streets, trees, and a shoreline to create three distinct plans for the city block.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

LBD: NCES - Designing for Climate Extremes

As a stationary culture, we must be prepared to live within a given climate. Each culture evolves their buildings to better withstand extreme weather. This week's lesson focuses on weather extremes of cold, heat, rain and wind.
Following a brief introduction, the students were asked to indepedently think and sketch on how they would build for their assigned climate. The Architects In Residence then discussed the student's thoughts in terms of native/vernacular climatic solutions. With assistance from each architect, student concepts such as an exterior protective bubble for wind protection, a large umbrella roof and a boat and life preserver were then developed into student building designs. Though primitive in form, the student's thoughts have very real life applications, particularly in light of the continuous re-evaluation of our buildings as our climate changes.
Following the design session, students presented their work, followed by a class question and answer period.

Monday, November 7, 2011

LBD:SAN - Beaux Arts Ball

In honor of Halloween, we decided to use a lesson that has been successful in the past around this time of year. The Beaux Arts Ball lesson is a chance for the students to learn about the famous L'Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris (The School of Fine Arts), where art & architecture have been taught since the 1600's, the famous Ball that was started there, as well as the American interpretation of the Beaux Arts Ball.

In 1931, the architects in New York got together and had their own Beaux ArtsBall. Except instead of dressing up in elaborate costumes, they chose to wear their very own buildings, most of them skyscrapers that were built in the late 1920's and early 1930's.

So, from left to right we have A. Stewart Walker – The Fuller Building, Leonard Shultze – The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Ely Jacques Kahn – The Squibb Building, William Van Alen – The Chrysler Building, Ralph Walker – The Wall Street Building, and Joseph Freedlander – Museum of the City of New York.

The students were given a side by side comparison of the architect dressed up, next to an actual photo of the building. You can see an example of what was shown to them through these photos of the Chrysler Building.

After reviewing these famous buildings, we shared more buildings that have influenced this generation of architects, and discussed the use of each of the buildings, and how the shape of those buildings could influence what happens inside. Those buildings included the Charleston City Market (local representation), the Guggenheim Museum in NYC, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, and the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (pictured clockwise).

We then broke into groups to learn a little more about the assigned buildings and to work as a team to design a costume of that particular building. Each group was given the same materials to work with, including cardboard, tin foil, pipe cleaners, paper plates, paper towel rolls, popsicle sticks, butcher paper, and tape. And then, one to two people from each group modeled the building while the rest of the group presented it to the class!

Sagrada Familia displayed the spires and supports with a headpiece and for their body wear had a sketch of the front entry, the Disney Concert hall utilized tin foil wrapped pieces of cardboard to mold the sweeping shapes of the building that Frank Gehry created.

The City Market used paper towel tubes for columns, as well as paper plates for the roof, with sweeping stairs coming down the front. The Guggenheim Museum wrapped layers of paper to create the round shape of the building, and even had a domed skylight over head that was lit by flashlight. Their presentation also included Frank Lloyd Wright impersonators telling the history of the building.

And the City Market group drew a perspective of the building to help with the design of their costume.

All in all, it was a great lesson for learning and fun!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

LBD:SAN - Mixtures and Solutions

The Architects presented a brief over-view of concrete construction including the materials, process and product. The curriculum standard of Mixtures and Solutions was reviewed and a connection was made to the chemistry behind concrete. The class worked in four groups to follow a recipe for making play-dough. Each student participated whether it was measuring or mixing.
Once the play-dough was made, each group was challenged to construct a tower. The students were allowed to use pipe cleaners as a stand in for re-bar or reinforcing steel. At the conclusion of the activity, each group presented their work to the class and highlighted the failures and successes.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

LBD:NCES - Native American Dwellings

The students worked in four groups to learn about the dwellings specific to different Native American Cultures; Cliff Dwellers, Mound Builders, Long Houses and Teepees. Each group made a collaborative drawing to demonstrate their understanding of the cultural and geographic influences on the construction of the dwellings. To conclude, each group presented their work to the class.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

LBD:SC New Volunteers

We welcome volunteers Brian Sanders, Kristy Swann and Justin Feit to the program. We thank them for their time and caring to join the team.

LBD:SC is seeking additional volunteers. Ideally we can place another volunteer with the LBD:SAN team as soon as possible and organize another three to four to launch a new program in the second semester.

Please contact us if you are interested.

LBD:SAN - Sanders Clyde Elementary School

Learning By Design welcomes Sanders Clyde Elementary School to the program. Principal Mr. Dixon and 5th grade teacher Mr. Gregory relocated to Sanders Clyde from Memminger and we will be moving with them. It is exciting to have a presence downtown again and we look forward to a great year.

Monday, May 23, 2011

LBD:NCES - peanut butter and jelly

For the end of the year activity, the volunteers and students worked on the craft of giving instructions - an integral part of an architect's job. The students were asked to coach or instruct Mr. Thompson through making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. To demonstrate that words carry meaning and instructions must be clear, Mr. Thompson took every command literally - resulting in a humorous mess to get the point across.

After a few attempts at verbally instructing the construction of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the class individually wrote instructions accompanied with hand drawn diagrams. Mr. Carey, Mr. Johnston and Mrs. Loder then chose a set of instructions and attempted to follow them. This activity was a success in that the students learned a life lesson, approached the activity in a creative manner and had a good time.