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Short Film Project: Architecture In My Community

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Keywords: Video, Architecture, Communty
Subject(s): History, Writing, Special Needs, Journalism, Podcasting, Service Learning, Geography, Autism, Technology, Social Skills, Video, Social Studies, Civics, Photography, Art, Information Skills, Speech and Language, Reading, English/Language Arts
Grades 11 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Mira Loma High School, Sacramento, CA
Planned By: Brenda Grueneberger
Original Author: Brenda Grueneberger, Sacramento
Architecture is the perfect medium for teaching students to be curious, informed, and empowered to interact with the built environment in their community. By learning ways to examine their community's built environment, students gain a sense of ownership and pride in what exists in their own backyard.


* To promote individual accountability, ability and learning
* To promote teamwork toward a common goal
* To create awareness of architecture as a potential career choice
* To promote good community relations among schools, business, and the public
* To demonstrate that a number of different subjects areas relate to the architecture.

Students will research historical and contemporary architecture in Sacramento, CA. Each team will address the following questions about their building of choice:

1. Who was the architect of the building?
2. What are the building's unique features?
3. How does the building reflect our region?
4. What kinds of construction materials were used to build it?
5. Who are the past and present residents of the building?
6. What were the challenges or criticisms of the building?
7. Why should people visit the building?

Students move to a storyboard to prepare a graphic representation of how their video will unfold, shot by shot. This will be made up of a number of squares with illustrations or pictures representing each shot, with notes about what’s going on in the scene and what’s being said in the script during that shot.

We will then use a half-day bus and travel to locations to shoot their videos.

Students will spend a few class sessions editing their work for final release. Final pieces will be published on YouTube for peer and instructor critique. Top films will be sent to our local Chamber of Commerce to promote our city.
Students break out of the confines of the classroom to visit and film LEED Certified Buildings, skyscrapers, and buildings by famous architects in the Sacramento Valley and over in the San Fransisco Bay Area. They are taught how to "read" a building, how to do thumbnail sketches to focus on aspects of buildings, and the political and social nuances of historical preservation. They visit community gardens and public art installations while seeking our inspiration for partnerships within their community. They study local government, economics, environmental impact laws, and federal laws for access and ADA accommodation.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This is one lesson of an interdisciplinary unit with English, Government, and Art classes.
Students take inspiration from their community and incorporate them into re-designing an area of their school. Our students have the unique opportunity to correspond with real architect mentors from across the nation following an in-depth design process using Chicago Architecture's Discover Design website.
Links: Discover Design (Chicago Architecture Foundation)
Materials: Sound Libraries, Video Tools, Podcasting, Flash/USB Drives, Headsets, Large Pro Monitors, LCD Monitors, Computer Accessories, Cables, CDs and DVDs, Memory Cards, Batteries, Tripods, Camera Bags, Camera/Video Accessories, Microphones, Networked Projectors, Digital Cameras, Hi-Def Camcorder, DVD Camcorder, Flip Video, Flash Memory Camcorders, Video Cameras, Mobile Labs