For the past few weeks, the engineering students have interviewed teachers, created inspiration boards, researched simple machines, and sketched the interior and the exterior of the Airstream. I don’t usually like drawing, but going outside and drawing the Airstream was a peaceful, relaxing experience. I think I will draw things more often in order to feel that same serenity. Once my team’s drawings were completed, we pasted them on our inspiration board. The purpose of the inspiration board is to showcase anything (pictures, drawings, articles, etc.) that will help us with project VENTURA. When it is filled up, we will step back, look at our board, and get inspired. Dream Designers (my team) interviewed 6 teachers and got some awesome ideas and initial thoughts. As a class, we created a poster with the possible Airstream features listed. Then, we placed sticky notes next to each one to represent each teacher who rated it a 3 out of a 1-3 point scale. Through this, we discovered that the most popular Airstream features are a refrigerator, microwave, table/work area, device charging stations, dinette, exterior seating, and couches. The least popular feature was the projector screen. Since we are learning through this project, we have been studying simple machines. So far, we have learned about levers (1st, 2nd, and 3rd class), wheel and axle, and pulleys. We are currently learning about inclined planes, wedges and screws. This knowledge of simple machines will come in handy as we design the Airstream; we will figure out which simple machines it will include and what dimensions they must have in order to be most efficient.
The Ann Richards School had a Green Building Expo yesterday, and Dream Designers attended it. We talked to people from The Nature Conservancy, Native Plant Society, Habitat for Humanity, Treehouse, and Innovative Water Solutions. Ms. Holly from The Nature Conservancy suggested the Airstream have a pergola with ivy. I thought this was a great idea because the Airstream’s exterior is covered in metal, and will get extremely hot over the summer months. The ivy will conveniently grow and provide shade during warm seasons, but will stop growing during cold seasons so as to let the sunlight warm up the Airstream. Other than solar energy, Ms. Holly also suggested the use of mechanical energy. I thought this was the coolest idea ever since the Airstream is right next to the athletics training room. Every time someone uses the elliptical, the treadmill, or the bike, they will be providing energy for the Airstream. The nice ladies from the Native Plant Society named a Texas native plant that repels insects: horse mint. It would be great to plant this in the Airstream garden because I’m pretty sure all the teachers hate pesky mosquitoes and most (if not all) insects. Mr. Kane from Treehouse mentioned environmentally friendly LED light bulbs; they cost between $10 to $12, but they have a lifetime warranty.
Now that we are finished with the initial preparations, Dream Designers (along with the other engineering teams) will begin to draw ideas of the Airstream floor plan. This is what we’ve been waiting for: the actual designing of the Airstream. Of course it’s just the floor plan, but we are happy to finally input our ideas for the organization of the Airstream. Where will the couches be placed? Should the right side of the Airstream be used for dining and the left for working? Where should the refrigerator and microwave be placed? Should the microwave go on top of the fridge? We get to answer all these questions with our floor plans.