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School Renovation -- What's Your Idea?!

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Keywords: measuring, presentations, software
Subject(s): Math, Technology, Photography
Grades 5 through 8
Original Author: Roxanna Rickly, Paris
We are very excited at our very old elementary (once a high school actually) because we are going to have major renovations starting at the end of next year. We will be adding classrooms, a cafeteria, a kitchen, lobby, windows, heating, plumbing, furniture, etc. I know that renovation often means lots of groans due to disruptions and noise, but I want it to be a positive experience for my students.

My fifth graders next fall are going to be completing a project that integrates writing, math, and technology. The district has already given my students permission to develop proposals for what they would like to see in the renovation. We are going to visit other elementary schools to check-out lobbies, cafeterias, classrooms, music rooms, art rooms, libraries, and bathrooms. At each school they will find the dimensions of each room, take pictures, and videotape. They are also going to interview our teachers to get their suggestions. Then, each group will choose an area, such as the library, and build a presentation of pictures and computer drawings (We are already using some simple scale drawing software to design rooms and add windows and doors.). The proposals will then be presented to school district officials and the architects. We are hoping that some of our suggestions will be used! I work with low income students with low self-esteems. I believe that enabling the students to visit other schools, bring back ideas, develop a proposal, and then present before a real-life audience will enable these students to grow both academically and socially.
The students were able to complete this lesson with alternate funding. They were able to present their presentations before the architects and the school board. This was a great experience for these students that crossed many disciplines. I have since moved to the Middle School, but still see the improved self-esteem of the students who participated.
Materials: Point and Shoot, Digital SLR, Video Editing, xD Memory Cards
Other Items: School bus and driver, $200 each
Picture quality paper and ink cartridges, $ $50 each
Presentation foam boards, $ $50 each
Measuring tapes and rulers, $ $50 each