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ERIC Number: EJ1049174
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-2158-0502
Bring Engineering to Life: Pergola Design
Dorrell, Abby; Berkeihiser, Mike
Technology and Engineering Teacher, v73 n8 p20-23 May-Jun 2014
The Family and Consumer Science (FCS) Department at Charles F. Patton Middle School in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, planted a garden to provide students with an organic horticulture experience. Although the garden provided the FCS Department space to grow plants, Patton Middle School FCS teachers Betsy Ballard and Kim Hislert believed it wasn't living up to its full potential. The garden's layout failed to support any on-site class instruction, which proved to be a problem. The teachers dreamed of altering the garden's layout to include outdoor classroom space as a way to incorporate the garden and the outdoors into the curriculum and broaden their students' hands-on educational experiences. They knew they needed a structure that would provide seating for their students without ruining the natural aesthetic appeal of the garden. The layout would have to function as outdoor work space for the students, but it would have to be more versatile than a traditional classroom in that it had to be suitable for recreational use as well. Not only did the solution have to be well incorporated into the garden's existing setup, it could not be too expensive or take up more than the available space. Finally, the solution would have to be stable, able to withstand weather, and safe, not only for the students but for other members of the community to enjoy. The FCS Department decided to partner with the Technology and Engineering Education Department at Unionville, the district high school, to organize the project. With assistance from their instructors, students at Unionville High School used the skills they acquired in their technology and engineering education classes to design and build an original pergola on school grounds that is being used as an outdoor classroom. A pergola is a garden feature with posts and cross pieces that creates shade and is often used as a structure for growing vines or other plants. This article describes the engineering design process and final solution completed by the Unionville students.
International Technology and Engineering Educators Association. 1914 Association Drive Suite 201, Reston, VA 20191-1539. Tel: 703-860-2100; Fax: 703-860-0353; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A