Multi-disciplinary CTA team helps teach Boise’s Anser students about design, sustainability

By: Travis Estvold
25 April 2016

In March, CTA participated in a four-week architectural elective program with sixth, seventh, and eighth graders at Anser Charter School in Boise, ID, in which students were challenged to design their dream homes using sustainable practices. CTA team members met once per week with the class, culminating in presentations where the students shared their final design solutions (after which they were treated to root beer floats).

CTA’s multi-disciplinary team of instructors was led by Education Design Studio leader Corey Johnson and designer Jason Yates. “The elective is actually called ‘architecture’ but we really have the opportunity to show a wide range of what happens in the architectural field, anywhere from interior design to architecture to engineering,” Yates said. “And so we tried to bring in a wide range of professionals that we actually have here in our firm to maybe target individual students who might not be interested in architecture but something related.”

“We had a lot of interest in the architecture class,” Anser electives coordinator Dani Zepplin said. “Our model that we follow is called E.L. and it’s very experiential learning. It’s very hands-on, it’s student-driven, it’s inquiry-based. It’s creating real-world projects and products and contacting experts in our community. So I think what we have partnered here with this architecture elective is really kind of a model of what our school is. And our kids love it. They dig in really hard to these kind of experiences.”

“What a great program this was,” CTA architect Lindsay Erb, a LEED Accredited Professional, said. “We were able to teach a lot of core sustainability concepts in fun, engaging ways, and from a lot of different perspectives. It was fabulous getting to see the concepts the kiddos dreamed up. Their imaginations are inspiring!”

Seventh grader Jojo Miller reflected on what she’d learned about sustainable practices as the program drew to a close: “To me, sustainability means things that can last a long time while still staying at their best.”

“It was really encouraging to see students and how they could really be unlimited in their thinking process,” Yates concluded. “But to see students have an unimpeded design process, and that they could really think outside the box and get creative, was really rewarding.”

CTA’s team included:

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