Building the Tiny House
The Tiny House project is the inaugural activity of the “Engineering for Social Good” class, where 11th and 12th grade students build a tiny house, sized at 20’ x’ 8’ x 11’, utilizing core design thinking and engineering concepts for this hands-on, community project. Thirty students are split into functional teams for framing, electrical, plumbing, exteriors, and more, as they work to construct the home. The tiny house is being created for local farm workers in collaboration with Hijas del Campo, (Daughters of the Field), a local nonprofit serving the needs of farmworkers in Contra Costa County.
Follow the students’ progress on Instagram at @carondelet_engineers.
- Provide the young women of Carondelet with a rich, hands-on experience in sustainable design, engineering, and construction.
- Directly address housing insecurity for essential workers in our local community.
- Lay a strong foundation for a state-of-the-art makerspace at Carondelet High School.
About “Engineering for Social Good”
The Tiny House Project is part of “Engineering for Social Good,” a new course at Carondelet High School that introduces 11th and 12th grade students to core concepts in design thinking and engineering through hands-on projects that improve the lives of people in our community. Each semester students engage in team-based projects that culminate in both a public exhibition of their work and the delivery of their final product to a local community organization.
The course uses human-centered design to directly address themes linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: affordable housing, clean energy, quality education, clean water, public transportation, marine biodiversity, etc. The themes will change from year to year. In year one, we will focus on affordable housing and clean energy where students will work in functional teams to design and build an environmentally sustainable tiny house that will then be donated to a local organization serving individuals and families experiencing housing insecurity.
The course relies heavily on learning-by-doing with performance-based assessments that demonstrate a student’s knowledge and skills in STEM. Projects feature heterogeneous teams of students allowing for skill specialization and take advantage of the interest, prior knowledge, and talents of each team member. Project tasks and skill development emerge from interaction with subject matter experts and stakeholders in the surrounding community curated by the course instructor and other school collaborators.
By the end of the course, students will develop an engineer’s ability to contribute to social good, feel comfortable with brainstorming, prototyping and testing products, deliver a high quality product to real world users, and effectively communicate their ideas visually and verbally to an audience.