By Shirley Shuman
Students in both of Robert Lloyd’s Building Construction classes have recently been busy building playhouses which they are offering for sale. The instructor explained how the project came to be and what the students have gained from the experience.
“I was thinking of a project that the students could do in a small workshop and one that would provide them with the opportunity to learn new skills and practice ones they’ve already learned,” he said. He also wanted something that could be used as a fundraiser.
Lloyd decided to build two different types of playhouses. The first one, a simple frame style with fewer angles, he knew would do well for the beginners’ class. He chose a more advanced style, what he termed a pentagon style, for the advanced class. He was pleased with the results of both.
The box style playhouse is four feet wide by eight feet long and “around 6’4″ tall.”
It had a window and a door and a small porch with a railing. With the pentagon roof, the second playhouse of basically the same design is somewhat taller. Both have shingled roofs, and both are designed for outside use.
Some of the skills students learned, according to Instructor Lloyd, included working with floor joists and installing the floor, working with angles in putting up the rafters and the roof, and shingling. Three of the students also discussed what they learned as they worked on these playhouses.
All three of the students reported that they not only learned from the project but also enjoyed working on it. Junior Logan Bennett, a student in Carpentry I and II, worked on the square-body playhouse. He noted he “learned to use a tape measure to measure out the 16′ footers, and learned to put shingles on a roof,” something he had never done.
Asked about any issues the students had with the building, Bennett said, “There really weren’t any issues because we knew what we were supposed to do.” He also felt the project was worthwhile “because it was a fundraising project for the class.”
Senior Charlie Miller, a student in the advanced class, said she “learned a lot about building” while working on the playhouses. “Putting the wall up, laying the studs, and even putting on the shingles, were all learning experiences. I had put on shingles before, but I improved with working on the playhouses.” Miller also named “building the railing for the porch and doing the windowsills” as things she learned to do.
In Miller’s view, the hardest part of the playhouse project was building the houses small enough that they could be moved out of the work area. They were obviously successful with that because students have already moved one to the BCHS commons area. Miller explained she feels the biggest benefit from the project is the fact they students learned while working on the playhouses.
Another senior, Charles Greenlief, is in his first year of carpentry. Greenlief noted, “Some of the things I had to learn were how to match angles on the rafters and how to cut and lay shingles.” He added, “It wasn’t that hard, just a little trial and error on the rafters.” Greenlief said the project was “definitely worthwhile” and “a good learning experience because it taught a lot.” He thinks it was a worthy project “because we learned and because we can earn money for the Building Construction classes.”
Currently, the class has three playhouses for sale. Each is priced at $875, according to the instructor, and all profit goes into the class fund to buy materials for further projects. “Building materials are expensive,” Lloyd said, “and we need them for the class.” Those who are interested can see the playhouses at the high school.S