Eco House Design Project

This was run as a competition between 2011 and 2016 and has been thoroughly road-tested -

Showcase: Best of Mean Green House Designs

How well are we preparing young people to deal with the energy-based sustainability issues of the present and future?

As a deep inquiry this will really engage students to meet these challenges through informed design of a sustainable energy house.

Project Guide for Learners

  1. Project: design a cutting-edge energy-efficient house which uses solar energy as effectively as possible.
  2. Form a small team of not more than three students.
  3. Work collaboratively to research, design, and then build, a scale model of an energy-efficient house.
  4. Keep the footprint of the model below 0.5m x 0.5 m.
  5. The scale model is not submitted as part of the entry. Instead the students will produce a video clip up to five minutes long that can be uploaded to the internet (and provide us with the link to find it) and which will show the creative team displaying, describing and explaining their model energy-efficient house.
  6. Keep a portfolio/folder/blog or poster to document:
    a.Concept development through the use of sketches, plans, photos, sources of inspiration etc.
    b.Describes the key building design features.
    c.Explains scientific/technological aspects of why these features were chosen.
    d.References all the books, websites, magazines, and communications with any advisers/consultants.
  7. The student team must be the primary researchers, designers and builders of the energy-efficient house.
  8. The project task is open-ended and can be taken as far as the students are able to in terms of the innovation of the building design and the technological and scientific concepts used.
  9. The student team will be briefed and supervised by a lead teacher in their school. 
  10. Any external advice should be referred to in the references.

Supporting Resources to get started with:

It is highly recommended that students (and teachers) take the ‘Homestar’ assessment test for their house to see what are some of the crucial elements of a sustainable and energy efficient house and what they could do to improve the performance of their home.

Existing Schoolgen teaching resources can be used to provide a foundation for the more involved in-depth project required for the competition-

Possible starter sequence:

Optional: Make a solar oven using either What’s Cooking with Solar? (Level 3-4 version) or What’s Cooking with Solar? (Level 5-6 version) to understand how heat moves and how it is influenced by the properties of materials (such as insulation).

Relevance to the NZ Curriculum 

  • The competition encourages a rich and in-depth inquiry learning task to be carried out by each student team.
  • Strong links are able to be made to three major curriculum areas: including relevant objectives for Science, Technology and Mathematics.
  • The following tables are presented as guides for the supervising teacher/s and show some of the links which could be made to the students project entry at the relevant year level.

Table 1: NZ Curriculum links for the typical Year 5 - 6 student

Subject
[Strands]
Level 3
Students could...
Technology [Technological Practice] [Technological Knowledge]
  • Undertake planning to identify the key stages and resources required to develop an outcome.
  • Describe the nature of an intended outcome, explaining how it addresses the need.
  • Investigate a context to develop ideas for potential outcomes.
  • Understand that different forms of functional modelling are used to inform decision making...
  • Understand the relationship between the materials used and their performance properties in technological products.
Technology Maths [Geometry & Measurement]
  • Use linear scales and whole numbers of metric units for length, area, volume and capacity, weight (mass), angle, temperature, and time.
  • Find areas of rectangles and volumes of cuboids …
  • Find areas ...and volumes.
  • Represent objects with drawing and models.
  • Use a co-ordinate system or the language of direction and distance to specify locations...

 

Table 2: NZ Curriculum links for the typical Year 7 - 8 student

Subject
[Strands]
Level 3
Students could...
Level 4
Students could...
Subject
Technology [Technological Practice] [Technological Knowledge]
  • Undertake planning to identify the key stages and resources required to develop an outcome.
  • Describe the nature of an intended outcome, explaining how it addresses the need.
  • Investigate a context to develop ideas for potential outcomes.
  • Understand that different forms of functional modelling are used to inform decision making
  • Understand the relationship between the materials used and their performance properties in technological products.
  • Undertake planning that includes reviewing the effectiveness of past actions and resourcing, exploring implications for future actions and accessing of resources
  • Justify the nature of an intended outcome
  • Investigate a context to develop ideas for feasible outcomes.
  • Understand how different forms of functional modelling are used to explore possibilities and to justify decision making and how prototyping can be used to justify refinement of technological outcomes.
  • Understand that materials can be formed, manipulated, and/or transformed to enhance the fitness for purpose of a technological product.
  • Understand how technological systems employ control to allow for the transformation of inputs to outputs.
  • Understand how technological development expands human possibilities and how technology draws on knowledge from a wide range of disciplines.
Subject
Maths [Geometry & Measurement]
  • Use linear scales and whole numbers of metric units for length, area, volume and capacity, weight (mass), angle, temperature, and time.
  • Find areas of rectangles and volumes of cuboids
  • Find areas... and volumes.
  • Represent objects with drawing and models.
  • Use a co-ordinate system or the language of direction and distance to specify locations...
  • Use appropriate scales, devices, and metric units for length, area, volume and capacity, weight (mass), temperature, angle, and time.
  • find the perimeters and areas of rectangles, parallelograms, and triangles and the volumes of cuboids.
  • Interpret and use scales ...
  • Relate three-dimensional models to two-dimensional representations, and vice versa.
  • Communicate and interpret locations and directions, using compass directions, distances, and grid references.
Science [Nature of Science] Investigating in Science
  • Build on prior experiences, working together to share and examine their own and others' knowledge.
  • Ask questions, find evidence, explore simple models, and carry out appropriate investigations to develop simple explanations.
  Participating & contributing.
  • Use their growing science knowledge when considering issues of concern to them.
  • Explore various aspects of an issue and make decisions about possible actions
[Planet Earth & Beyond] Astronomical Systems.
  • Investigate... components of the solar system (sun and earth), developing an appreciation of the distances between them.
[Physical World] Physical inquiry and physics concepts.
  • Explore, describe, and represent patterns and trends for everyday examples of physical phenomena, such as movement, forces, electricity and magnetism, light, sound, waves, and heat. For example... identify and describe everyday examples of sources of energy, forms of energy, and energy transformations.
[Material World] Chemistry & Society
  • Relate the observed, characteristic chemical and physical properties of a range of different materials to technological uses...

 

Table 3: NZ Curriculum links for the typical Year 9-10 student

<
Subject
[Strands]
Level 4
Students could...
Level 5
Students could...
Technology [Technological Practice] [Technological Knowledge]
  • Undertake planning that includes reviewing the effectiveness of past actions and resourcing, exploring implications for future actions and accessing of resources...
  • Justify the nature of an intended outcome
  • Investigate a context to develop ideas for feasible outcomes...
  • Understand how different forms of functional modelling are used to explore possibilities and to justify decision making and how prototyping can be used to justify refinement of technological outcomes.
  • Understand that materials can be formed, manipulated, and/or transformed to enhance the fitness for purpose of a technological product.
  • Understand how technological systems employ control to allow for the transformation of inputs to outputs.
  • Understand how technological development expands human possibilities and how technology draws on knowledge from a wide range of disciplines.
  • Analyse their own and others' planning practices to inform the selection and use of planning tools.
  • Justify the nature of an intended outcome in relation to the need or opportunity.
  • Analyse their own and others' outcomes to inform the development of ideas for feasible outcomes.
  • Understand how evidence, reasoning, and decision making in functional modelling contribute to the development of design concepts and how prototyping can be used to justify ongoing refinement of outcomes.
  • Understand how materials are selected, based on desired performance criteria
  • Understand the properties of subsystems within technological systems.
Maths [Geometry & Measurement]
  • Use appropriate scales, devices, and metric units for length, area, volume and capacity, weight (mass), temperature, angle, and time.
  • find the perimeters and areas of rectangles, parallelograms, and triangles and the volumes of cuboids.
  • Interpret and use scales
  • Relate three-dimensional models to two-dimensional representations, and vice versa.
  • Communicate and interpret locations and directions, using compass directions, distances, and grid references.
  • Select and use appropriate metric units for length, area, volume and capacity, weight (mass), temperature, angle, and time, with awareness that measurements are approximate.
  • Convert between metric units, using decimals.
  • Find the perimeters and areas of circles and composite shapes and the volumes of prisms, including cylinders.
  • Deduce the angle properties of intersecting and parallel lines and the angle properties of polygons and apply these properties.
  • connect three-dimensional solids with different two-dimensional representations.
  • Interpret points and lines on co-ordinate planes, including scales and bearings on maps.
  • Apply trigonometric ratios and Pythagoras' theorem in two dimensions.
Science [Nature of Science] Investigating in Science Communicating in science Participating & contributing
  • Build on prior experiences, working together to share and examine their own and others' knowledge.
  • Ask questions, find evidence, explore simple models, and carry out appropriate investigations to develop simple explanations.
  • Use their growing science knowledge when considering issues of concern to them.
  • Explore various aspects of an issue and make decisions about possible actions
  • Develop and carry out more complex investigations, including using models.
  • Use a wider range of science vocabulary, symbols, and conventions.
  • Develop an understanding of socio-scientific issues by gathering relevant scientific information in order to draw evidence-based conclusions and to take action where appropriate.
[Planet Earth & Beyond] Interacting systems
  • Investigate...components of the solar system (sun and earth), developing an appreciation of the distances between them.
  • Investigate how heat from the Sun, ... and human activities is distributed
[Physical World] Physical inquiry and physics concepts. Using physics
  • Explore, describe, and represent patterns and trends for everyday examples of physical phenomena, such as movement, forces, electricity and magnetism, light, sound, waves, and heat. For example... identify and describe everyday examples of sources of energy, forms of energy, and energy transformations.
  • Identify and describe the patterns associated with physical phenomena found in simple everyday situations involving movement, forces, electricity and magnetism, light, sound, waves, and heat. For example, identify and describe energy changes and conservation of energy, simple electrical circuits.
  • Explore a technological ... application of physics.
[Material World] Chemistry & Society
  • Relate the observed, characteristic chemical and physical properties of a range of different materials to technological uses
  • Link the properties of different groups of substances to the way they are used in society or occur in nature