Architecture in the Schools

AIS at Stoddert Elementary School

What does an architect do? This is the question we put before a first grade class at Stoddert Elementary School in Washington, DC. EE&K employees Mary Rankin, Abbie Cronin, and Jessica Scott spent a semester with the students as part of the Washington Architectural Foundation’s ongoing Architecture in the Schools program.

The students were introduced to common building elements, such as columns and beams, utilizing their classroom and surrounding neighborhood as examples. They were encouraged to act out the structural elements in order to gain a better understanding. On another visit the students were guided on a neighborhood tour of their local community. A valuable lesson on sustainability was placed before the first grade class. Discussion ensued on ways for the students to conserve energy and water at school and in their homes.

For the final project, the students are working to build a greenhouse out of plastic bottles. They were encouraged to gather recycled plastic bottles from home and school. The volunteers took up collections at work and home. Once all the bottles were gathered the students began preparing them for the greenhouse. The bottles were rinsed, caps and labels were removed. The volunteers finished off the bottles by removing the bottoms. Each bottle was then stacked one inside the other on a 6’ garden cane. The finished greenhouse will be 6’ x 6’ x 6’ and will require over 1,000 bottles stacked on over 100 garden canes. The completed canes will then be placed in a wood frame that will eventually be sited on school grounds after construction has completed. The greenhouse will be integrated into the planned school garden curriculum.