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VOTE: Help My Students To 3D Print Public Housing Units

VOTE: Help My Students To 3D Print Public Housing Units

Bronzeville Scholastic Institute: In December, Gadient's class raised $1,794 to buy a Makerbot for 3D printing public housing units. Now, it is responding to a national challenge to make the curriculum sustainable for the long run. 

Bronzeville Scholastic Institute: In December, Gadient's class raised $1,794 to buy a Makerbot for 3D printing public housing units. Now, it is responding to a national challenge to make the curriculum sustainable for the long run. 

by EDWARD GADIENTTeacher, Bronzeville Scholastic Institute, Chicago  | Feb 14 2016

Design students are learning to solve problems in their school, their communities and their own lives. My goal is for students to feel the power of using the design process to create meaningful change to better the world.

In this project, students will explore the issues of public housing in Chicago and around the world.  Our school is housed in a former school building, which served children from housing projects along State Street. Students will research examples of affordable housing from neighborhoods around their school, as well as around the world. By studying the initial promise and hope found in places like the Ida B. Wells Homes, as well as the positive community bonds studied by sociologists like Sudhir Venkatesh, students will see how housing is an essential part of improving people's quality of life.

  • Voting ends Friday, Feb 19. National winners in each of four grade categories will receive a $10,000 DonorsChoose.org gift card. To view all categories and vote, click here.

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At the same time, they will look at primary accounts of life in Chicago housing to see how structural flaws led to the deterioration of life within them. Students will take the knowledge learned to create their own models of affordable public housing for Chicago families and justify the improvements on previous attempts.

Students will be using the Makerbot 3D printer and accompanying filament to create scaled architectural models of affordable housing they would like to create for Chicago families. Student proposals for new models of housing are incomplete if they are unable to create completed, 3D versions of their solutions. The finished product will allow them to practice using computer-assisted design (CAD) software, as well as experience the practice of architecture and design. Students will see their own ideas come to life and make something tangible for a project that addresses a problem present in some of the communities they inhabit.

My students needed a Makerbot 3D printer and filament to create architectural models. This project has significantly helped them to understand the design cycle.

They would see the process connect to a final product, relevant to themselves and impacting the world for better. Students can practice using design technology and experience careers related to it: architecture, graphic design, modeling, and public policy. In the end, they will be problem-solvers, empowered to take the skills and knowledge in their class to improve their lives and those of people around them.

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The author is a 10th grade teacher in his first year at Chicago Public Schools (CPS). A 2008 graduate of Northwestern University, Gadient earned a Masters of Education last spring from Loyola University Chicago. Prior to joining CPS, he was a director at METROsquasha nonprofit devoted to serving at-risk Chicago youth with academic, health and wellness support. His e-mail: egadient@cps.edu.

To see other current and past projects led by Gadient, go to: http://www.donorschoose.org/Gadient.

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