O'Rourke Middle School students in Mr. Morocco's Grade 8 Engineering by Design class have been designing, sketching and wielding tools since the beginning of the school year in preparation for a project that not only teaches them architectural design and engineering skills, but also about humanity and charitable works.
The students, who had just completed a unit on Constructing Specialized Manufacturing Environments, were asked to follow the engineering design process to design and construct a shelter for a dog.
The students' first step was to research various types of dog shelter designs to get ideas for their own plans. Then they used their engineering design journals to sketch their own blueprints and construction step-by-step instructions for everyone to follow. They also worked together as a team to select a design that met the criteria and constraints outlined by Morocco.
The students had to rely on their knowledge of manufacturing resources to determine what materials would be needed to build each part of the house, as well as calculate how much of each material they would need. Once the design phase was complete and approved, students took their plans to the work tables where they began cutting and assembling the necessary materials--all of which were donated by Curtis Lumber.
Morocco explains that this lesson is a great example of how the new Common Core State Standards play a role in his classroom by urging students to delve deeper in a subject area and by placing more emphasis on analyzing, evaluating and creating to gain a more thoughtful understanding of new learning.
"Common Core asks more out of students than just possessing and relaying knowledge," says Morocco. "The standards encourage students to apply skills from all subject areas--math, reading, writing, speaking, listening and language--to better understand the project. From the beginning to end of this project, the kids were engaged and emersed in the project."
Seeing the exceptional work and care the students put into making the dog shelters is what prompted Morocco to reach out to Steve Caporizzo's Pet Connection to see if the dog houses could be put to good use. Pet Connection (a segment aired on Channel 10) is aimed at finding loving homes for abandoned dogs and cats.
As a result, the students' dog houses will be auctioned off on the Pet Connection Facebook page with all the proceeds going to pet rescue groups Peppertree Rescue and 11th Hour Rescue. The dog houses are on display at the O'Rourke Middle School and will be up for auction until January 24.
View a photo gallery of students working on their projects. [PHOTO GALLERY]