At Southeast Polk learning doesn’t always take place in your typical classroom, at a desk or behind a computer.  Southeast Polk’s, Industrial Technology Teacher, Ryan Andersen and his Construction Technology class are getting hands on experience by building mighty houses or tiny houses in this case.  

Southeast Polk’s Construction Technology class has partnered with Joppa on this project.  Joppa is a local organization that has been helping the homeless survive, find housing, and rebuild their lives since 2008. The goal is to build tiny houses for Joppa that will become part of a 50-home community that will house people for six to 24 months while they get back on their feet. JOPPA is providing the funding for the project and students are providing the labor.

Andersen plans to complete two tiny houses per year, one per semester with his students.  Currently, there are eight students enrolled in the class this semester and they are halfway complete with one house. The houses are 8-foot by 12-foot and do not include a kitchen and bathroom; those spaces will be shared within the village.

Before beginning this collaboration with Joppa, Construction Technology students worked on constructing sheds and other basic projects.  Andersen shared that students passion and excitement after launching this project has changed. “When students are building a shed the excitement fades quickly, but when you are building a tiny house for a meaningful project the excitement lasts. The students are eager for the new challenges they face with building the tiny house each day and class period.”

This idea stemmed from the University of Northern Iowa Mighty House Project.  Ryan was a leader within that program and now is able to implement and engage students in real-world projects.

Southeast Polk Superintendent, Dr. Dirk Halupnik, shared, “This project and Ryan’s work checks so many high priority boxes for our district; real-world application of learning, problem-solving, community partnerships, college and career readiness, STEM, and CTE.  These are exactly the type of opportunities that we are after here for our students at Southeast Polk.”

“I am happy we found a local project where we can help the community and provide a great learning opportunity for all of the students” Andersen shared.

For updates on the progress of the tiny house project follow this link:  SEP Construction Classroom Website.