Once upon a time in my school we had what were called “Activity Periods” that altered the normal school schedule for one day a week, allowing students to join clubs that met during that period. Another teacher and I ran what we called “The Give Back Club” which was basically a club where we did community service projects that “gave back” to the community. Those activity periods gave way to more class time due to state testing long ago, but I still like to involve my students in community service projects throughout the year, depending on the topics, lessons and units we are covering. Below are a variety of easy, inexpensive projects that students can create to help give back to their communities. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know in the comment section below.
What do you do when your custodian has leftover tiles from various school projects? Ask him if you can have them for a class project! That’s what Laurie Hagberg, a FACS teacher from Mankato West High School, Minnesota did. Laurie uses these tiles in a refurbished coaster project in her Interior Design class that not only reinforces the color schemes, but show’s her students how they can recycle items into gifts for their future homes, apartments and/or dorms. Students enjoy this creative, hands-on project and are excited to take them home!
Some of the most cherished gifts our family has received over the years have been made by the hands of the people we love. In fact we look forward to those gifts every year as they’ve kind of become a tradition. Sometimes those gifts made with love were born out of necessity due to limited resources available to go out and purchase store bought gifts, but many times they were made and given out of love for the recipient(s) of the gift. For example, many years ago, very close friends of ours began making us a delicious candy-like treat that can only be described as “Christmas Crack” because once you start eating it, you can’t stop! We love the candy and our friends and look forward to that gift every year! After all, how can you look at, use or consume that wonderful gift without thinking fond thoughts of the talented person/people who took the time to make it for YOU! Why not teach your students how they can use their talents, time and resources to make gifts of love to give to those in their lives that they cherish most during this Christmas and Holiday season?
Looking for a project, other than book work, to assign his housing class Joseph Bauer, a FACS teacher from Jefferson City High School Missouri, got a creative idea. Having already covered floor plan drawings, both top and side view designs and making scale models of bedrooms using shoe boxes, he wanted the next project to be more challenging and exciting. Combine that with the fact that it was the time in the year when Halloween was in the air and you end up with a hauntingly cool project!!
This past spring Ikea joined Concept Kitchen 2025 at the Milan Design week to explore how the kitchen “as we know it” will change in the future. Concept Kitchen 2025 surveyed students from Lund University and the Eindhoven University of Technology about their assumptions of the kitchen in ten years and then teamed up with Ideo innovative design firm to develop prototypes for the future 2025 kitchen. According to the analysis the kitchen of the future will include more technology, and will be more practical and environmental. This whole concept had “project” for CTE & STEM class or an Interior Design class written all over it. So…below you will find some ideas of how to incorporate this into your curriculum.
Every once in awhile I find myself without technology access due to school wide testing and I need an alternate assignment. This was how the mini-book project came to be. You could consider this an interactive foldable where students must use class notes and resources to complete. The beauty of these is that they can be used with any age group and can be as simple or as elaborate as you want them to be. Below you will find a few ideas on how mini-books can be used with FACS related topics.
Serina wrote in asking if I had any resources for family consumer science interactive notebooks. Unfortunately a typical google search doesn’t produce anything but interactive notebook materials for science, English, and history classes. However, Interactive Notebooks are a great fit for Family and Consumer Science classes!
This activity helps students to get in the mind set of interior and architectural design. Aleksandr Mergold and Jason Austin architects from Pennsylvania have come up with the innovative idea of making pre-fabricated housing using farm grain dryers. This housing challenge provokes students to design innovate housing using tin cans.