For three years, the Foundation has sponsored the Architecture and Children Program in New Mexico’s schools. NMAF helps fund supplies and other needs for the design education program at Albuquerque’s Mark Twain Elementary School, grades 2-5. This program is also sponsored by the School Zone Institute and the American Institute of Architects of Albuquerque.
Fifteen volunteer architects, engineers, landscape architects, and designers go into the school every other Friday for ten weeks to teach children architecture and design education. Children learn how to draw schematically, then learn the architectural conventions of plan view, elevation and some perspective as well as how to draw windows, doors and walls. While teaching architecture, the architects and teachers of the grade levels, relate some of the concepts to geometry, history, botany, civics, science and art.
The New Mexico Arts Commission also funded School Zone to write integrated curriculum for the second grade. In this way, design becomes the nexus for integrated learning. People from the Mark Twain community are excited about and helping with the project. Recently the classes took at walk through their built environment neighborhood to do a site analysis of a nearby dog park for which they will be designing structures. A local drone company went with them and took pictures from the drone as they walked and did their site analysis.
Students love this program so much, that attendance on “architecture days” increases.
Next year, the school will be running a robot lego workshop for teachers that will tie engineering skills to the subject of architectural design. The Foundation board members feel it would be an innovative contribution to write a curriculum for children on architectural preservation and history. If you’re interested in helping, comment below!
Story and photos courtesy of Anne Taylor. Click each image to learn more …