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Name of Activity

Planning and Building Tiny Homes




tiny homes, sustainability, materials, properties, shoebox, planning, building, cardboard



Grade Level

4, 5, 6, 7


1 Hour

Brief Description

Students will work in groups to start building model tiny homes. Students will become familiar with the concepts of tiny homes within the sustainability movement and design a home for their chosen part of the world. Each group first makes a floor plan for their home to practice executing a written plan.

Learning Goals:

Students will practice working in groups, putting a design on paper and executing their design. They will also put into practice the idea of material properties to chose materials for their homes.


Shoeboxes (1 per group), cardboard, scissors, tape, popsicle sticks, glue gun, sheets of paper with a shoebox-sized rectangle


Collect the appropriate number of shoe boxes (ideally all about the same size), cut cardboard into manageable sheets, print out sheets for floor planning, arrange students in groups of about 4

Knowledge Background

Ideally the teacher should be familiar with the Engineering Design Process as applied to building. The teach should also know a little about materials properties and can help by putting students in groups that work well together.


  1. Review information from the last activity (materials properties).
  2. Explain the concept of tiny homes with a visual example, ideally show pictures on a projector.
    1. Touch on why tiny homes are a sustainable alternative to traditional housing and why this is good.
  3. Arrange the students into groups of 4.
  4. Have a each group choose a location (can be anywhere in the world) for their tiny home to be located.
    1. Hopefully this helps each group identify more with their project.
    2. The location becomes relevant when groups consider what kind of climate their home exists in and what kind of renewable energy source to use.
  5. Explain the planning and building process: each group will draw out their floorplan on a sheet of paper with a shoebox sized rectangle on it.
  6. Give groups 10-15 minutes to plan.
  7. Tell the groups when they can start building. They should all follow their floorplans as they tape walls inside their shoeboxes and add support with popsicle sticks.
  8. When a group is done taping their walls one of the STOMPers should hot glue them in place.
  9. Maybe take a break during building for groups to look at each other’s designs. This time can also be used to introduce how popsicle sticks are useful as supports.


This activity is part of the Tiny Homes Building and Renewable Energy unit. Students should already have learned about material properties and in the future will add support, climate control, and electricity to their tiny homes.

Previous Activity (if applicable)

Sorting Materials





Name of Activity Mystery Sensor Challenge
Author Eleanor Richard, Sam Heilborn
Keywords Lego, Robotics, Mindstorm, Programming, Challenge, Introduction, Sensors, Sensor Introduction, EV3, NXT
Subject Mindstorm Programming
Grade Level 4,5,6,7,8,9
Time 30-60 minutes
Brief Description
Lesson Objectives: Familiarize students with the Mindstorm blocks.Have students understand the importance of the order and specific aspects of programming blocks, such as speed, duration, degree.Introduce student to the concepts of “What If” blocks and “Loops.”
Materials Needed:
  • NXT or EV3 Robots
  • Touch, Sound, and/or Ultrasonic Sensors
Preparation and Set Up: Crete 4-6 challenging and excited Mindstorm programs with non-desribitive names. These programs can include Some examples are shown belowScreen Shot 2015-03-30 at 4.49.37 PM
Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 4.49.50 PMScreen Shot 2015-03-30 at 4.49.44 PM?
Necessary Background Teacher must understand Mindstorm, and students should have some familiarity with EV3 or NXT, but do not (and should not) have a lot of experience programming.
Online Reference(s)
Umbrella Unit/Curriculum (if applicable)

Tufts Student Teacher Outreach Mentorship Program • 200 Boston Ave. • Suite G810 • Medford, MA • 617-627-5888

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