Volunteers from our DC Office recently participated in the DACkids Summer Camp, sponsored by the Washington Architectural Foundation. This weeklong summer camp program for kids ages 8-12 is an opportunity to enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills through creative activities taught from a design arts perspective.
Tasked with designing their own playhouses, the kids engaged in lessons on structure, building materials, construction processes, and other activities over five days to encourage creative thinking using art and design skills. At the start of the week, the campers were asked to list their favorite hobbies and activities to help them decide what spaces they wanted to include in their own small scale models. They then worked to create models of their designs using foam board and paper.
Our volunteers helped campers create a 1:1 scale mockup of a playhouse constructed out of a wooden frame, foam studs and a paper facade. The kids also learned how to read plans and elevations, and were guided on where to measure and mark the frame to place the studs in the right places as part of the process. One of the highlights of the week was a scavenger hunt outside the District Architecture Center to find a series of architectural features and different components that make up a city block.
The DACkids Summer Camp is not only a fun way for kids to get excited about STEM, it was also a rewarding experience for our staff. We are already looking forward to next year’s event!
Learn more about our Washington DC Office >
This five-day summer camp was organized by the Washington Architectural Foundation and the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital that seeks to use design and the arts to enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) skills.
Photo credit: WAF
Every day last week, a group of ten or so volunteers from architecture and engineering firms across the city arrived at the District Architecture Center to teach a group of 40 girls and boys (mostly girls) about the basics of architecture, planning, and construction. The task for the week was to build a special space for themselves that would support their hobbies and interests in a 6’x6’x6′ cube. They were taught to think through what uses their building had to support, for example, if they like to read, they need a library and reading space. After being given a remote mountain lake site, they designed and built their space for the immediate context. They were asked to consider transportation and site constraints in this remote location, and take scale into account when thinking about what would fit in their cube. Each group assisted in building a true-to-scale box to help them feel the space requirements. The box was developed throughout the week to include insulation and siding. We look forward to seeing the final designs of these industrious young people.
CannonDesign’s DC office committed 3 volunteers to working Monday morning: Andrew Bickell, Daniel Olberding, and Carrie Parker.
Here are their favorite parts from volunteering:
I enjoyed the brainstorming and sketching session with all of the campers. Each group was excited to develop their own creative and unique spaces based on their interests and it was fun to help them bring those ideas to life.
I really enjoyed seeing the campers light up when the group proudly shared their brainstorming ideas. One camper politely and eagerly asked another if she could PLEASE copy one of her ideas. It was a great example of teamwork.
My favorite group was the group of 5 entrepreneurial ladies who turned their hobby-houses into money-making ventures, as well as an inclusive friend community with all of the amenities. Their lake-adjacent property was accessible by nearby helipad and each tree house was accessible by zipline and ski lift.