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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.


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 Celebration- Use of various natural materials from ancient time to now. 

Art, Music, Dance

Choreographing dance performances for barefoot mud stomping 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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