Divine Design

By Badin team Lori Baucom and Fred Smith, July 7, 2008

Grade Level

  • Middle School


  • Green Design

Subject Area

  • Arts
  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Technology

Lesson Time

4 weeks


Students will design their own "green" school". This lesson encourages students to think of how they can impact the future. It is a real life lesson in sustainability that they design. All students can relate to a school and this gives them a way to choose their ideas for a school while being environmentally friendly as well.

National Standards

All Level III:
Science: Standard 1Benchmark 4
  •  9
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 7
  • 16
  • 18

Common Core State Standards

English Language Arts Standards: Speaking and Listening

Grade 6-8

Comprehension and Collaboration:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.1.A Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.2 Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.3 Delineate a speaker's argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.4 Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.5 Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.6-8.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 8 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.)

English Language Arts Standards: Reading Informational Text

Grade 6-8    

Key Ideas and Details:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-8.1 Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-8.2 Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-8.3 Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-8.6 Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author distinguishes his or her position from that of others.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-8.7 Compare and contrast a text to an audio, video, or multimedia version of the text, analyzing each medium's portrayal of the subject (e.g., how the delivery of a speech affects the impact of the words).
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-8.8 Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-7.9 Analyze how two or more authors writing about the same topic shape their presentations of key information by emphasizing different evidence or advancing different interpretations of facts.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6-8.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 6-8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

English Language Arts Standards: Science & Technical Subjects 

Grade 6-8    

Key Ideas and Details:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
  • Craft and Structure:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.7 Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.8 Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation in a text.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.9 Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.


Students will  be able to create a 3-D model of a school that incorporates energy and conservation management,


united streaming video: renewable resources
directory of sustainable materials
Climate Responsive Design by Richard Hyde
Designs for Water by Heather Kinkade Levario
Tropical Sustainable Architecture by Joo-Hwa Bay and Boon-Lay Ong
google earth


Maps of the school and community
charts of resources
art supplies
building materials


renewable energy
"off the grid"
carbon emissions


Discuss: What is a green school?
Walk around the school. Find positive and negative things about your schools impact on the environment.
Brainstorm ideas for a green school.
Students in groups will make a concept map of the design process.
Students design a rubric for grading with teacher input of course.
Students will have a day for research in the computer lab. They should research building materials, energy sources. Students should define words as they research. Invite speakers from the community: Architect, Engineer, Environmental Extension Agent, bankers, etc.
Watch a video on Design elements.
Students work in groups to design and construct their ideal green school. They should address as many renewable resources as possible. Budget is unlimited. Students will be able to explain how their design helps the environment and discuss the whole design process.  Midway through the speakers should come back to review and assist with the rough drafts and models. The students will present 3-D models to class and panel of experts.


Rubric/ Student and teacher made.
time on task
add any other student elements( determine values before assignment)

Enrichment Extension Activities

Follow up: Can your design really be applied to real life? Where would you get funding? (Letters etc.) Choose 1 idea to propose as a real possibility. Find a way to push for it to become reality. Math teacher will need to assist with teaching scale before project begins. Language Arts teacher can assist with the letter writing process. The Social Studies teacher can assist with social change and geography lessons.

Teacher Reflection

Meet back to discuss positives/changes etc.
How well did it work?
Student survey of project

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