04/13/12 As the students in the Building Trades classes at Plymouth High School become more technologically savvy, they are contributing more to the designing of the houses they build as an annual project.

Teacher Ken Robinson said students have been working on the blueprint drawings for next year’s house. Robinson said, “This is really project-based learning.” Robinson, who spent much of his summer working on lesson plans for the class, said, “The kids are light years faster than I am at using the technology.”

  Robinson taught for several years and then went back into the construction field. He was lured back into the classroom when Jim Moyer was retiring and suggested Robinson take over the program.

  According to Robinson, students learn how to read drawing and the needed terminology. Currently they are building a small model house. Robinson said, “I’m very lucky to have done everything I always wanted to do.” He said having the students more involved in the designing has been a dream of his for many years.

   For a number of years, students have been working with the Building Trades Committee to choose plans for projects. The committee is made up of local builders who volunteer their time to help choose a plan each year that will include skills that those in the class can use in the future. Now, with students involved such classes as Project Lead the Way and civil engineering, students can use new computer programs to enhance their contributions.

   P.T. McKinnis, Crossroads Academy Vocational Schools, helps students from area schools in the actual construction. This year they are erecting a 1,360 square foot home in Neidlinger Sub-Division. McKinnis said, “The community is very helpful in our projects. The advisory board includes bankers, builders and real estate experts.” McKinnis said he is working with a total of 14 kids this year, but has had more in the past. He said, “This is my fourth year working with students and it is very rewarding.”

Carol Anders Correspondent