Students Engineer Model Homes, Playhouses for Charity

Mrs. Borgeson’s Engineering 1 and 2 classes have been hard at work on some special projects in the past couple of months. You have probably seen bits and pieces of them around the school but are probably wondering about some of the specifics behind them. Or at least I was, so I did a bit of investigation to find out exactly what the lowdown was.

Engineering 1 – Scale Model Home Competition

Engineering 1 classes, which are mostly freshmen, participated in a competition to build the best scale model home. The goal for students was to envision their dream home and then actually build a imagescale model of it. It afforded students the opportunity to practice spatial reasoning skills and gave them a way to use math to make something with their hands. A larger goal of the engineering program in general is to apply math and science toward making useful things. The kits used in this process were donated by a grant from the Hanover Foundation for Educational Enrichment. These kits were very similar to what professional architects use when they make scale models of real buildings.

Once all of the student teams assembled their houses, they were put on display in the multipurpose room, where the staff of HHS voted on the winners, listed below.

  1. Mike Stevenson and Josh Letizia
  2. Will McLaughlin and Will Folan
  3. Olivia Norris

Engineering 2 – Playhouses for Habitat for Humanity

Engineering 2 classes, which are mostly sophomores, have been building playhouses for the past several weeks. There are 10 playhouses being built in total. Two of them are going to the Habitat for Humanity house being built on Center St. and the other eight are being sold with the proceeds going toward either Habitat or a fund to buy materials to make these houses every year. Yes, you heard that right, it will be a recurring project every year! You can see their work in progress near the baseball field outside of the engineering fabrication lab.

The process started when teams of students designed the playhouses in AutoCad. AutoCad is a program used by all architectural and engineering firms to draw out plans for their projects. In addition to making an AutoCad model, students also had to make a physical scale model similar to the Engineering 1 project IMG_0568described above. One of the requirements of the modeling process was that students had to build their houses with a budget of $370. If that requirement was not met, students had to redesign until their models could be made under that figure.

As of the writing of this article, students are building their scale model houses with the help of Mr. Faria. Faria teaches Engineering 3 and 4, taken by juniors and seniors, respectively. Students learned how real houses are framed and built in order to copy the process on these smaller play houses. One of Mrs. Borgeson’s goals for these students is for them to have the ability to help design or build a shed at home for their families. The materials for those houses were provided by Home Depot, who gave the school a special discount and delivered the materials for free.

In addition to building in class, on Saturday May 23 and May 30 from 10-5, students will be meeting at HHS in order to finish their houses. All students are invited to come and help build; attendance will count toward mandatory community service hours for those students who still need them. Anyone interested in coming should contact Mrs. Borgeson at with any questions.

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