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Classroom topics around the earthen masonry construction project

Building a Model Structure and Hosting an Event.


Students and Teachers are trained to build a small scale model of a structure or the real life sized structure- using sundried /unfired earthen-mud- masonry techniques- in the classroom to demonstrate the main components of shelter, through the lenses of: community, youth leadership and sustainability. This structure becomes a center-piece for a festive /educational public event which is organized and hosted by the students for the rest of the school and the community. This event includes a performance of a local variation of the barefoot mud stomping dance which can be performed with or without mud.

Educational angles.

The curriculum is such that it enables teachers/students to start with a topic (that is directly related to the project) and then expand out into other various topics and subjects in an organic, natural way, sort of like a rose flower where the project is at the center and the various topics that can be covered are all the petals.



measuring proportions and ratios - sand to clay - scale models - estimating square foot area- number of bricks needed - multiplication calculations - division - circumference - architecture - design - shelter - finance, mortgage, interest, rent payments, estimated costs of materials for life-size project - comparison -percentage differences - shelter costs as a percentage of income -average salary of chosen occupations - other costs as a percentage of income -working with / managing a budget - fund raising.


Constructing clear and concise sentences for the public presentation at festive event - Public speaking -Writing in a journal - Writing Poetry for public festive event - Rhythm - Youth Leadership - Adultism - The Youth Advantage - Youth Writers - Youth Contribution to the Economy - Youth SWAT analysis (strength/weakness/opportunities/threats) Community, Family, Community Organizing - Youth Movements - Famous Speeches - The Power of Language. Theater, performance. (see other notes)


Soil types -subsoil - clay -the creation of clay-geology, healing properties of clay- edible clay, clay in the beauty industry, clay in art, functional uses of clay- pottery - masonry - Unfired Vs Fired. physics - load bearing walls - architecture - earthquake proof structures, sustainability, carbon footprint, pollution created by cement, concrete and steel production- pollution created by modern shelter construction. Indoor pollution an Volatile Organic Compounds within modern construction.


Social Studies / Geography / History

Dark Emu - Aboriginal Mud brick villages, 1,000 year old Native American Pueblos, 2,000 year old cities of Djenne/Timbuktu, (Mali, Africa) 700 year settlements of Devon, England, 800 year old Fujian Tulou buildings of China -oldest continuously inhabited structures -Shelter throughout the ages - Adapting to Climate and Environment over Time - Community (definition) - Village (What does it take to make a village?) - Shelter, Family, Community, Clan and global displacement of village based societies Community Celebrations - The Seasons - Harvest, Sowing, Building-Storing -Community Organizing Events (Bringing people together for a shared meaningful experience)- Wild edibles, The History and Use of Community Organizing in the USA - (struggling together for a shared cause - independence, emancipation from slavery, civil rights, women’s rights, labor movement, youth rights, community organizing, Community Supported Agriculture - New Farm Communities- Village Design Principles - Use of various natural materials from ancient time to now. Including: Linseed Oil, Pine Tar, natural pigments, plant fibers, earth, stone, wood etc.





Art, Music, Dance - Making your own natural Linseed Oil Based Paint - Making colors - from mixing primary colors - natural pigments and their sources/availability in nature - pottery - design - architecture - building a small model with both artistic and functional value. Sculpting, the traditional role of art, dance and music in construction and community- Drums- - Village -Sound and Sound Waves (science) Emotions. How does music/dance make you feel?


Other Technology - digital journal, photography, video editing, community organizing principals and strategies, community assets inventory, fund raising, entrepreneurship, food services, catering, street theater, advertising, promotion, teamwork, leadership, mentoring, events -planning and hosting, physical strength building.

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