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Ali's Homeschool Classroom
Design Unit

Design Unit/Applied Learning

Created by Ali L.

Copyright God's Way Homeschool and Homeschool On a Budget

Bringing together Math, Science, Art, Critical/Creative Thinking, Conflict Resolution, Compromise/Co-operation, Budgeting and Recycling

Course Objective:

To demonstrate in a "real life" form how we use such things in our everyday lives.

**Disclaimer: This unit is free for personal and classroom use. Just please don't "swipe" it as your own, I put a lot of time and effort into it. If you would like to link to it, that is fine. I believe that creativity and originality belongs to those who conspire such ideas and then bring them to life for learning. I am also not responsible for any "boo boo's" you might make along the way should you use this unit. Always remember, SAFETY FIRST!!**

Unit Intro/ How this unit came to be:

So often kids get the misconception that they won't use such things as colors, measurement, geometry, and various science principle except on a worksheet. They view the world of "colors" as a way to draw or having to complete a "following directions" worksheet. Art is often viewed as "trivial" or "just for fun" but not of any real "use". They feel that geometry is a math principle that could never be applied in real life. When they approach such things as conflict resoulution from a book/worksheet point of view, they often are not left with a feeling of how this would really apply to their lives, especially as kids. They often think that compromise/co-operation is limited to sharing or being kind, but any adult knows that it goes far beyond this. Yet, all of these misconceptions are very wrong. They are things that kids use or see everyday often without realizing it, and this unit is designed to "prove" that in a very fun, active, and hands on manner. And, this unit came to be due to questions my boys AP and RR asked, and their constant complaining, arguing, etc.

While this unit is being designed for Elementary aged kids, it can be applied to all age and grade levels, just realize that the younger kids are going to need more adult direction and input as the unit progresses than older kids will.

Getting Started:

For this project, you are going to need a large space. This space can be a bedroom, play room, or class room. Other needed materials would be: paper, pencils, art supplies, craft supplies, rulers, paints, measuring tapes, internet access, book access, old catalogs/magazines, things that can be recycled, various tools, adult supervision, and a whole lot of creativity. You may want to document the various steps of this unit as you go along in a scrap book format for portfolio and memory reasons.

*Note: our space is a shared bedroom that doubles as our class room.

Unit time frame: Undetermined. It could take from a few weeks, to a full school year, this depends upon the student, the teacher, and their resources/finances.

Needed Internet Sites to be used throughout the Unit:




Free Patterns

Trash To Treasure Websites:, ,,1792,HGTV_3912,00.html

Childrens Room Design,1792,HGTV_3367,00.html


Useful Television Programs for this Unit:

HGTV Shows: Design On a Dime, Small Space Big Style, Weekend Warriors, Sensible Chic, reDesign, Room By Room, That's Clever, Mission Orginization, Generation Renovation, Crafters Coast to Coast, Carol Duvall Show

DIY Shows: Free Form Furniture, Sew Much More, Creative Juice, DIY Crafts

Other TV Shows: Trading Spaces: Boys and Girls, Monster House

Useful Online Quizzes for this Unit:

How to Use Color,,HGTV_22056_40284,00.html

What's your Design Style,,HGTV_22056_33321,00.html


Useful Online Videos:

Kids Rooms,,HGTV_22056_35987,00.html


Under $100,,HGTV_19176_31052,00.html

BHG Videos

Online Design Planners

Room Planner,,HGTV_17897_23822,00.html

Color A Room;jsessionid=CWF4Z5ZWWX535QFIBQNSBHQ?storyid=/templatedata/bhg/story/data/coloraroom_landingpage_04292005.xml

Arrange A Room

Design A Closet

Useful Books for this Unit:

Mobiles & Other Paper Windcatchers by: Noel and Phyllis Fiarotta

How to Make Mobiles by Polly Pinder

Stencilling on a Grand Scale: Using Simple Stencils to Create Visual Magic by Sandra Buckingham

The Paint Effects Bible: 100 Recipes for Faux Finishes by Kerry Skinner

Colors for Your Every Mood: Discover Your True Decorating Colors by: Leatrice Eiseman

Use What You Have Decorating : Transform Your Home in One Hour With Ten Simple Design Principles -- Using the Space You Have, the Things You Like, the Budget You Choose by: Lauri Ward

Kids Rooms (Pottery Barn Kids) by: Margaret Sabo Willis

Photocraft : Cool Things to Do with the Pictures You Love by: Caroline Herter

Designing Furniture by: Fine Wood Working (Editor)

Beds by Jeff Miller

Built-In Furniture : A Gallery of Design Ideas by Jim Tolpin

New Kidspace Idea Book by Wendy A. Jordan

(Also Browse what your library has available)

Lesson 1: I'm an Individual

For this lesson, your students will need a pencil, paper, and time to think. Before class, think of some questions for each of the students to answer and write these on your white board/chalk board. Some sample questions, and questions I ask my boys are:

1. What is your favorite color/s?

2. What is your favorite shape?

3. What is your favorite story?

4. What is your favorite TV show?

5. What is your favorite movie?

6. What is your favorite song?

7. What is your favorite Toy?

8. What is your favorite thing to learn about?

9. What is your favorite animal?

10. What is your favorite game?

11. What is your favorite pattern? (stripes, checks, camo, etc.)

12. What is your favorite texture? (soft, fuzzy, rough, smooth, etc)

And other questions about things that they don't like.

Before having the students answer the questions, explain to them that we are each individuals with our own likes and dislikes. This is what makes each of us unique. Have the students answer the questions. Then have them share their answers with the class and allow time for discussing any questions they might have.

Now, some of these questions are useful to our project, and some are just to help the children understand and learn more about themselves. So, the answers you need to make note of are: color, shape, pattern, texture, and dislikes. These will be used later.

**Classroom teachers: You will have to collect the papers to compare them so that you can figure out the most common favorites, as this is what you will have to use as opposed to being entirely individual with this unit**

Lesson 2: My Dream Room Part 1

Remind the students about their discussion on being individuals. Tell them that we are going to continue learning about our own individuality. But this time, we are going to get more creative and write about what our dream room would be. Some questions you might ask or write on the white board are:

1. If I had a lot of money to buy things for my room, what would I get?

2. If I could paint my room or furniture any color, what would it be?

3. Things my room has to have are? (This would be furniture, etc.)

4. If I could have any art on my walls, what would it be? (Posters, murals, pictures, maps, etc.)

5. If I could have a pet in my room, what would it be? (Fish, Hamster, Gerbil, Bird, Rabbit, etc.)

6. Would I have mobiles in my room or any other ceiling art? If so, what?

You might think of some more questions to ask the students. Have them write their answers to these questions for future refrence.

Lesson 3 My Dream Room Part 2 (Creative Writing)

Using the questions and answers that each student provided in the previous lesson, have them write a story about their rooms. Once they finish writing their stories, have each student share their story with the class and allow time for discussion of their stories, creativity, etc.

Lesson 4: Dream Room Diorama

Supply the students with shoe boxes, old magazines, catalogs, and various arts and crafts supplies. Have them make a diorama of the room they wrote about in their story from the previous lesson.

Lesson 5: Design Journal

Now is when you tell the students about the BIG project that they will be working on. But, there will be many small projects along the way. This lesson is by far the most time consuming part of the over all project, as it could take anywhere from a couple of weeks to several months. And, depending on your time allotment, could be assigned as homework or independendant study. Be sure to allow library/media time for the student as this is where all those TV shows, books, quizzes, internet sites, and online videos come into play. This is where they get used. So, what are the guide lines for the Design Jouranl? Well, basically it's just what it sounds like. And as the teacher, you determine how often the student must make an entry into their journal using one of the many resources available, and how long they have to complete their journal. Some basic questions that need to be included in their journal are:

Day of the Week, and Date

1. I watched/read:

If it was a television show, write the time they watched it and what channel it aired on.

2. How they used art in this was:

3. How they used math in this show was:

4. A craft/project they showed that I liked was: (if none, the student can write none. But, if there were projects, then they need to list any websites, or books where the project is featured).

5. Creative ideas they used were:

6. How they used science:

7. Was anything recycled? If so, how.

9. Was there any creative or unique construction materials used? If so, what were they?

10. Did they find anything "neat" about this resource, and if so, what.

They should also look through old magazines and catalogs. Allow them to clip pictures from these resources and glue them into their journal under the heading: Things I Like

You can also print Design Journal sheets from my Student worksheet page.

Now, at some point, allow the student to take the online quiz over their design style. Have them include what they learned about themselves from this quiz in their journal on a seperate sheet of paper. What is their design style? What are some trade marks of their style?

Have the student complete the interactive activity on How to use color. Again have them write in their journal on a seperate sheet of paper what they learned about using color. What colors reflect them, etc.

When the journals are complete, put them on display so that the other kids may view them. After a few days, discuss with the students what they each learned about themselves, each other, and how various school topics are used in real everday life. Also discuss what "mini projects" they would like to do to contribute to the ultimate big project.

ex. for my boys some already planned mini projects are: mobiles, desks, toy containers, wall art,decorating a fish tank and getting fish, window art, bedding, and beds! Yes, we are going to BUILD furniture (hopefully)!

Lesson 6: Starting on the Big Project

This is where team work, co-operation, compromise, and conflict resolution will begin to come into play. Having the students work together (or with you) have them decide on a few certain things. Those things are:

1. How big is the space that they have to work with? Yep, now is when you pull out the measuring tape and measure the room.

2. What things already in the room do they want to keep?

3. What things in the room do they want to get rid of?

4. What is their budget for the project?

5. What items or materials do they have that can be recycled?

6. Will they paint the room? If so, what color. Will they paint the furniture? If so, what colors.

7. Will they use any borders in the room? If so, what kind of border. Purchased? Stenciled? Hand drawn?

8. Will there be any murals in their room? If so, what of.

9. What creative storage solutions can they use?

10. What rules must they follow for this project? In other words, what are their limits with this project.

Obviously, this list can go on and on.

Lesson 7: Big Project Diorama

Once again, supply the students with materials to make a diorama. This time, they should focus on making a diorama of what was chosen for the big project.

Lesson 8: Constructing the "mini projects"

Once again, this is a lesson that will vary in time required. Each project could take from a single class period to a few days to complete. But, this is a very hands on learning experience as each item in the redesign is being created by them so to speak. Now, obviously, young kids are not going to be using any power tools, that's the adults job.

At the end of each "mini project" have the children write about what school subjects they used to create the project. How did they use math? How did they use science? How did they use art? Also, have them subtract the cost of this project from their total budget. How did they use conflict resolution?

**Painting rooms should not be done at this point**

Lesson 9: Arranging and Completing it all

This is the final part of the project. And this is where the free design tools mentioned earlier will come into play. How will the colors they chose look in their room? It's best to get an idea online than to finish the project and not like it. How can they make everything fit into the room? This is where they will use the online tool for arranging a room. What layout works best? Remember, the room MUST still be functional after the project is completed. If they want to organize their closet so that it contains more storage, this is when that is done. And of course, this is where the students work together to hang any art, etc. in their rooms.

Have fun with this! Remember, kids learn through life! And this is their space, and kids should feel like the space they spend the most time in, was really designed for them.

At the end of the project, compile a scrapbook of all the steps along the way. Discuss what the students learned from their project.

Here are some printables that would go nicely with this unit:
Organizing Project - Part Two, Page 1  (this is actually page 2, there is just a typo)

Copyright 2008, Ali Lock, Homeschool On A Budget