Sometimes, we forget how much we know. The way our education system works, we build upon our knowledge from year to year and increase our skills and abilities as we grow. Those basic counting skills from kindergarten help us learn addition and subtraction. Then we move on to multiplication and division. From there, we enter the realm of fractions and decimals and even . . . unit conversions!
One of the rewards of teaching is seeing the light come on for students. It’s exciting to see students recognize that one skill can create a new related skill. When they recognize how much they know, it increases their confidence in other areas. All that knowledge and skill development needs to be reinforced with application. There are many ways to do this.
Framing kits are a way to synthesize a lot of knowledge into a practical application. In other words, framing kits can help students recognize how much they know.
My son has an amazing gifted teacher, Mr. Bradley Johnson, who knows how to turn knowledge into application. Last year, my son was struggling with math being relevant, so Mr. Johnson challenged him to put his drawing skills and interests to use.
The assignment was to build a model house. The process included making a scaled drawing, working out unit conversions, and building the model. Math became very relevant, but something else happened too. Watching my son wrestle with how to take his drawing and make a model was like watching a movie about critical thinking. His critical thinking improved significantly the further into the project he got.
In the end, he opted to use dimensioned lumber to make his final model. When the project was completed, I asked him why he didn’t use a framing kit. “You mean there was a kit?” was the reply.
Framing kits, at the most basic level, are dimensioned lumber with instructions. At a different level, framing kits are a way to synthesize a lot of knowledge into a practical application. In other words, framing kits can help students recognize how much they know. Not only do students practice creating an architectural model, they apply practical math, blueprint reading, construction, instruction following, vocabulary building, and critical-thinking skills.
Students who’ve created blueprints or drawings, like my son, can use dimensioned lumber to construct a model for demonstrations.
If the student hasn’t created a drawing, a kit with all the materials required to construct a frame might be more useful. Students will measure, mark, and cut the dimensioned lumber to the proper length and angle. Then the fun challenge of assembly can begin.
Framing kits can be general, such as the Hearlihy Wood Framing Kit or specific like the A-frame Cabin Kit 101. No matter which kit you pick, the intrinsic reward of building something and seeing the finished product can’t be replaced.
Remind your students of what they know. Explore adding framing kits, model houses, or dimensioned lumber to an activity in your lesson plans. It might spark some creative thinking and frame some practical skills.