Student Sustainability Lab Tiny House Projects
Students are mentored by construction professionals and work with veterans, educators, volunteers and SustainaFest staff as they take a journey of exploration and discovery to plan, design and build a house. Lead builder and military veteran, Rogers Belch, explains, “Having students work together to build this house with their own hands ensures that they acquire construction know-how and critical teamwork and planning skills while also learning about the impact that lifestyle choices have on our communities.” Jonathan Oglesbee, Head of Middle School, Sandy Spring Friends, notes, “This one-of-a-kind experience is not about suggesting that people need to live in tiny houses. We’re educating students to understand sustainable options and make better choices in meeting society’s needs.”
The effort is part of SustainaFest’s Student Sustainability Lab, a groundbreaking educational program that provides students an opportunity to understand human-environment interactions, sustainable living and our connectedness with ecosystems, economic systems, and one another. The goal of the Lab is to provide students with an age-appropriate and engaging introduction to the complexities of today’s world and the tools needed to address 21st century challenges. “The Lab seeks to complement traditional Pre K-12 educational disciplines by combining art, humanities, social sciences, and the physical and life sciences in a way that excites students to explore alternatives and create a more sustainable future for themselves,” explains George Chmael II, SustainaFest’s Board Chairman. SustainaFest is currently in discussions with several schools and organizations that have expressed interest in building tiny houses in the future.
"This might be a tiny house but this tiny house represents a big, big movement."− Martin O'Malley, Governor, State of Maryland
"This has been one of the two most powerful learning experiences I have been a part of in my career."− Sarah Judd, 27-year Educator & Learning Specialist, The Key School
"Middle schoolers in Annapolis are building a house of the future"− Jessica Kartalija, News Anchorwoman, CBS WJZ-13
"I can do this. I just built a tiny house with a group of people. What else can I do? The sky's the limit."− Cameron Salvon-Harman, Middle School Student, The Key School
2014 SustainaFest Tiny House Project
Presented by Standard Solar
In July 2014, 50+ middle and high school students from Annapolis, Baltimore and surrounding areas joined forces with military veterans, building experts, educators and the sustainability leaders from SustainaFest to take on the unique and exciting challenge of building a mobile hi-tech, hyper-efficient and sustainable “Tiny House”. This Minim model is a 210 square foot, off-grid construction marvel demonstrates the latest in sustainable building materials and green technology including solar electricity, rainwater filtration and innovative interior design to maximize space and efficiency. The project took place over three weeks at The Key School in Annapolis as part of their Summer Camp program. The house will be brought to schools, festivals and other events to showcase sustainable shelter and promote SustainaFest’s Student Sustainability Lab program.
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