Check out this fantastic article published in December 23 edition of The Journal Record. I transcribed the story as printed, but simply cannot resist adding my own comments. They are in italics.
ODYSSEY STUDENTS BUILD TINY HOUSE WHILE LEARNING MATH
by Molly M. Fleming — The Journal Record
Oklahoma City – Odyssey Leadership Academy teacher Brennan Will wanted to teach a math class where students would apply their skills in the wood shop.
Then, Odyssey parent Sarah Horton shared her idea with him to build a tiny house.
Will’s class and other student volunteers spent their fall semester learning math skills, applying them to construction techniques, and ultimately creating the Tiny Tudor. The 227-square-foot house sits on a trailer. 240sf…our web site needs to be updated
Horton said she first thought she could collect extra home materials from residential construction companies. But she was able to gather donations from several Oklahoma City businesses, with some companies even giving the students classes such as measuring counter-tops or painting. Tiny Tudor donors are talented, generous, creative professionals who think outside the box, see solutions where others see problems and tell good jokes.
“It’s a dream home with community partners that are putting the best of the best into it,” she said. “My mind was totally blown by people who didn’t know me, but gave the project their total support.”
One of those companies was Prototek, a maker’s space at NW 10th Street and N. Hudson Avenue. The owners donated 10 memberships for the eight-week course so students could use the wood shop equipment. Odyssey doesn’t have a traditional school; rather, classes are held in the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library. 12 memberships, but who’s counting. Plus Prototek blessed our socks off for many reasons. The huge awning kept the house totally dry throughout!
Odyssey’s semesters are only eight weeks long, so the house took longer than that time frame because materials did not come in when classes started. Will had his students do other wood-working projects, such as building a frame for an 8-by-10-inch picture. He said he could watch his students figure out the project using math because their picture wouldn’t fit the frame. He called them aha moments, which he said do not often occur in regular math lessons. These kids are amazing! They crafted a rolling pin, Adirondack chair, wardrobe, table, jewelry holder, AND parts of a tiny house!!!
“That’s why we decided to approach math from this way,” he said. “We don’t start with any standards. We ask, ‘What do we want the students to learn?’ And what subject skills do we want them to learn?’
Will said he heard from several students that they are now more interested in pursuing a degree in a construction related industry, such as architecture or engineering. He said one student often helps his dad on construction.
“After the class he told me he never realized the math behind (construction),” he said.
Junior Harrison Molloy said he had thought about being a mechanical engineer before the project, and the work confirmed his decision. He was not in the math class but volunteered to help.
He said he and his friend helped install the windows, which was easier than he expected it to be. He gained a new respect for everyone in the construction industry, he said. Easier than expected because Harrison is tall, strong, talented, not afraid of heights and an amazingly great guy to volunteer his time over school holidays. Thanks Harrison.
“I think the house turned out great,” he said. “It looks awesome.”
There was some work the students couldn’t do because of licensing requirements, such as electricity. The class also had a hard time putting on the siding, Will said. Our tiny house friends understand the licensing part is not quite accurate, but we got to work with Emsco Electric and Hometown Full Service Electric for supplies, planning and installation. Students participated in planning and preliminary installation.
The home was designed by Horton’s husband, Scott Horton. He’s not an architect by trade, though he always dreamed of being in the field. Horton does design work for NewsOK.com, and has helped create the video studios for the company. Horton said he worked with a program called SketchUp which let him design the house in actual size. He worked with neighbors who are engineers and homebuilders to make sure the plans were correct.
“I found it to be very exciting,” Horton said. “I like to learn new things and new technologies.” My husband can do absolutely anything. He not only designed the house, he spent many weekends and vacation days framing, sheathing and trimming.
The home’s design is more charming than many tiny houses, which made construction a little challenging. Sarah Horton said tiny houses traditionally have metal roofs, but getting a piece for the front swoop of the Tudor design was difficult. That’s why it’s covered in wood shingles. Difficult but not impossible for McRay Roofing & Exteriors and Ray Albright Steel! Tiny Tudor’s roof is indeed metal because they were determined to find a way to make it work. They succeeded beautifully!
“We wanted to do something where people said, ‘Wow, that’s different,'” he said. “We purposefully tried to do something no one else was doing.”
There will be more tiny houses starting in the spring when Wheeler District developer Blair Humphreys breaks ground on the development’s first phase. The area’s planned unit development allows for 12 permanent tiny houses. Other tiny houses on wheels, like Odyssey’s, can be an accessory to another home. Yes! Tiny Tudor can be located in Wheeler Park as soon as September 2017. Thanks to Blair Humphreys for welcoming us into his community.
As for Odyssey, there are no plans to build another tiny house anytime soon. Will said he’ll have his class again. Getting the items donated and working on the house turned into a full-time gig for Sarah Horton. Because of her work, there will be more money raised to benefit the school.
The house will be sold during an online auction next month at tinyhouseola.com. This is the school’s second year, and it was started with more heart than money, she said. Tiny Tudor will be finished in a few weeks then embark on an open house tour. Check back for a tour schedule. Come check it out and place your bid!
“We’re super excited to be able to impact the school like this,” she said.