Engineering a Treehouse

This week we have been digging deeper into our KinderStudy of treehouses. One of our learning targets this week was for students to draw and label a high quality blueprint of their treehouse. They worked really hard coming up with ideas and then putting those ideas onto paper. Students drew some of the objects they wanted in and around their treehouses (rope bridges, domes, spiral stairs, platforms, solar panels, slides, doors, ladders, roofs, ziplines, landscaping, etc). This served as a vehicle for introducing new vocabulary words . We are giving these drawings to The Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach. They will be using their them as a basis for 3D printed versions of the students’ drawings. We will include 3D printed objects in our outdoor classroom model.
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After drawing and labeling their blueprints, some of the students presented their blueprints to their classmates. They gave each other feedback using a protocol that says, “Feedback is kind, specific and helpful.” We are going to continue building the skill of giving feedback throughout the year. We have done several Gallery Walks around structures the students have built. During these Gallery Walks, students walk around, look at what their classmates have built, and give each other feedback.


Lenin’s treehouse blueprint

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Our students are still enamored by ziplines, so we had each student create a zipline out of string and legos. They then experimented with their ziplines to see how they could make them as fast as possible. They discovered that when they used more lego pieces on a string that dipped, it slowed it down, but more lego pieces on a tight string went faster. We also had them test out different heights and angles and they discovered that the ziplines went faster when it was a very high zipline that went straight to the ground and was pulled tight. We also watched some videos of kids who had treehouses with ziplines in their backyards and watched a video that told us that the longest zipline over water is in Haiti.


Harvard professor Eleanor Duckworth, who was one of Alicia’s teachers at Mission Hill School, came to visit our class this week. We had fun exploring ziplines with her.


Exploring ziplines with our Principal

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Each student is designing their own individual tree house and will be building a model of it using popsicle sticks next week. They will also be designing and building the landscaping to go around their treehouse. Building their own treehouse will help them continue to develop the skills they will need to design and build treehouses for our outdoor classroom at Savin Hill Cove.

1 thought on “Engineering a Treehouse

  1. Pingback: Do You Want To Build a Treehouse? – Young STEAM Inventors

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