Project VENTURA is a 10th grade engineering project at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. The project is centered on the restoration and conversion vintage travel trailers into “eco-trailers” that will somehow be used by our school community. Teams of 3-4 students are given a budget with which they must come up with a design that includes re-framing, re-insulating, re-flooring, re-wiring, adding a fresh water holding tank and pump, installing solar panels, and using a minimum of 75% green materials. Teams model their designs using Google Sketch-Up. In mid-March, each team presents their design to a professional panel of engineers who will determine the winning design. The winning design will then be implemented during the Spring semester.
Garden VENTURA is a collaboration between the 10th graders and the 7th grade science classes. 7th grade science classes will also form small design teams. Their design challenge is to create a sustainable landscape for the trailer to be parked in.
Both projects are based on Project Based Learning (PBL). In project-based learning, students spend weeks or months to response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. The idea behind PBL is that students will learn content through rigorous projects and practice 21st Century Skills (such as collaboration, communication & critical thinking). PBL has been proven to facilitate deeper, more authentic learning.
For our 2nd year of Project VENTURA, we have acquired a 31-foot 1977 Airstream trailer. The trailer will be stationed in an unused area of our campus. The client the project will serve this year is the staff and faculty at our school. Since our space is very limited, teachers do not have a common area in which they can meet, eat lunch, or just relax. Both Project VENTURA and Garden VENTURA will work together to design a eco-friendly, sustainable, healthy environment where teachers can work, socialize, and just relax.