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STEM Seventh-Graders Design Homes

Mixing all the academic subjects into one, big tasty real-world stew made for a culminating lesson to remember for Smith Middle School STEM Academy seventh-graders.
Working since last February, the students researched real estate markets in two cities of their choice, calculated the cost to build a house, then designed and constructed models based on their figures.
Part of the assignment required using a renewable energy source and writing a persuasive paper to sell the dream house.
Also, each class took a geographic section of Texas and students made models of a chosen flower and animal indigenous to that region.
For STEM math teacher Enicka Smith, the concluding project, which parents toured Tuesday, came as a happy, welcomed relief.
Last year’s seventh-graders, she said, began the work on the Project-Based Learning project, but didn’t finish due to the school closure last spring.
“What we’re doing is applying math to the real world,” Smith said, explaining the multi-faceted project that incorporated math, science, history and language skills.

Teachers voted on the best projects and named first, second and third place finishers.
First-place winner Laila Page said she was in denial that she won the top prize.
She settled on Highland Park, the Dallas suburb for her dream house, a 3,442-square foot home worth $1.7 million.
“You can’t just put up four walls and call it a house,” she said, explaining what she learned in the project. “You can’t just draw lines and expect it to be a house either.”
Second-place finisher Levi Robinson designed a $10.2 million, 8,935-square foot house in Los Angeles. It contained just two bedrooms and two bathrooms.
“It’s really important to consider the math,” he said, explaining the lessons from the project. “I learned how difficult it is to build a house.”
Third-place finisher O’Shanna Valentine also went upscale. She designed a dream house in Hawaii. The $428,000 house on the island contains just 874 square feet.
“I liked putting together the final product,” she said, of the 3D model of glued-together cardboard.
“We learned about financial calculations and how expensive it is to build a house.”
“Everything we’re doing is real-world,” Smith said. “We can connect it to something real. That’s my mission as a STEM math teacher.”