Housing Career Path Starts With CD-ROM and Building Doghouses
A “Building Homes of Our Own” computer competition was among the activities used by the Master Builders Association of King & Snohomish Counties in Washington at their recent annual career fair to stimulate student interest in the housing industry.
Available at no cost to classroom educators, public libraries, association members and affiliated associations, NAHB’s “Building Homes of Our Own” CD-ROM provides students with an understanding of the home building and buying process, an introduction to careers and lessons in community responsibility as they design, construct and sell a 3-D home.
The Master Builders Education Foundation held its second annual Building Your Future, Student Competition and Career Fair for local high school students in May. Approximately 110 students from 20 different area schools attended the event, which was held at the association’s headquarters in Bellevue.
The event consisted of three components: a computer competition, a doghouse contest and career discussions with representatives from home building companies.
In the computer competition, students were given one hour to complete the “Building Homes” program, which uses home building concepts as a real-world context for the application of math, science, social studies and consumer economics skills learned in the classroom. The schools received the software prior to the competition so that the students would have plenty of practice time.
“The students were very excited trying to design, permit and sell a home,” said Cathy Feole, executive director for the foundation. “The experience was great and the talent displayed among the competitors was really impressive.”
Building a Better Doghouse
Students applied some of the skills they learned playing “Building Homes” in a doghouse building contest in which 11 structures were successfully completed with a great deal of effort. The competition was judged by builders.
“Our doghouse took about a week to build,” said Sean, the first-place winner in the doghouse building competition. “It was fun!”
Among the prizes for the top contenders were a PlayStation Portable (PSP), gift certificates and portable DVD players.
To encourage students participating in fair activities to consider the many career paths available to them in housing, a timed “round-robin” format enabled them to meet face-to-face with as many industry leaders as possible. The students were divided into small groups and spent seven minutes with each housing professional before rotating to the next.
“It was good, it was nice to meet people from different companies,” Zeke, second place winner in the “Building Homes” computer competition, said. “I liked that we got to meet them and they had information available.”
“The competition and the building were both great, and the professionals have some really good advice,” said Brian, a student participant. “It was very worthwhile!”
High Marks for ‘Building Homes of Our Own’
Feole said that her association had enjoyed its experience with the “Building Homes” software and would recommend the program to other HBAs as a successful and easy-to-use community outreach resource.
“Students get really involved in the computer competition and absolutely love it!” Feole said. “‘Building Homes of Our Own’ is a beneficial way to generate awareness of the industry among students.”
The Master Builders Association of King & Snohomish Counties is just one of the many associations using the “Building Homes of Our Own” CD-ROM to build relationships with their communities and encourage students to explore home building careers.
Since 2002, 47,000 CD-ROMs have been distributed to middle and high school classroom educators reaching an estimated 4 million students, teachers and parents.
The award-winning educational software teaching tool is available to NAHB members and associations upon request; click here (homesofourown.org).
To Request Copies
For promotional resources, click here (nahb.org/buildinghomesofourown).
For more information about this item or to request multiple CD-ROMs, e-mail Gwyn Donohue at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8447.