BuildingSkills is a high school program designed to give students the opportunity to explore their interests and aptitudes for a career in the construction industry. Students work in teams of 2 covering 20 construction trade areas.
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Each ten-day CTA begins with tool, vocabulary, and material identification using worksheets and the Taylor Home story. Every video lesson starts with an overview of the activity which sets the expectations for learning. Next, the video presents step-by-step instruction which carefully guides students through the day's activities. Each lesson contains a Sixty Second Review to reinforce the learning sequence and key concepts. Finally, the video instructor explains "best practices," which are those skills that produce true craftsmanship.
Every student that takes a construction course does so because they want to actually experience what it’s like to work in the industry. Reading about construction can help a student understand the concepts and theory, but practice is what really builds on the basics and improves skill and knowledge.
20 10-day Construction Trade Areas
The ability to do basic drawing and read blueprints are valuable skills needed in all areas of construction. Students do a simple sketch of their lab and then transfer their sketch to a drafting board where they add the correct symbols for doors, windows, electrical and plumbing fixtures. They gain an understanding of plot plans and how to use a floor plan to determine where walls are placed. Students use the elevation drawings to measure window and door locations and the placement of cabinets. Blueprint Reading reinforces math and reading skills.
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In this CTA, students will identify basic tools and equipment used in the cabinetmaking trade. They will identify and describe materials used in cabinetmaking, understand basic techniques, and design and build a sample cabinet using 32mm technology. Students also explore the applied mathematics of cabinetmaking.
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In this CTA, students will identify basic tools and equipment used for communication systems in structures. They will identify and describe applications of communication systems, understand installation techniques for cable and internet connections, telephone, security and lighting systems. Science and applied mathematics will be explored.
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In this CTA, students will identify and describe basic tools, equipment, and materials used in the concrete trade. They will gain an understanding of basic concrete and reinforcing applications. Students will prepare, form, reinforce and pour a concrete slab and curb, while exploring applied science and mathematics in the trade.
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In this uniquely designed CTA, students assemble a steel stud wall as the basis for the rest of the activities. Using an abrasive saw and steel studs, students measure and cut stud sections and then fasten them in place with a drill and screws. After squaring the wall, students cut and hang drywall pieces to form a butt joint, taper joint, and inside and outside corners. Students apply tape, fit corner beading, and apply joint filler. Then they sand and apply different types of decorative finish.
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Students will explore the types of wire and connections used in typical residential electrical installations. While carefully following the onscreen video instruction, students use a low voltage (12 volt) portable electrical panel to wire a typical duplex residential outlet, switch loop, and a three-way switch. Additionally students will learn how to add a circuit. They also gain an understanding of the science and math of the electrical trade.
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Students perform material estimations for the construction of a simple house and considerations for sustainability. They will calculate: yards of concrete, the number of rafters, studs and plating, plumbing and electrical fixtures, doors and windows and the quantity of roofing materials. The estimate is totaled and presented to the instructor for review. The Estimation CTA allows students to use construction math to calculate the cost of their labor and the materials they are using.
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In this CTA students use a full size window and door trainer to install a pre-hung door and window. They learn to use techniques for applying flashing and using shims, levels and squares to correctly set the door and window. Once the door is installed students use the compound mitre saw to cut and fit the door casing. They also learn how to use a "coping" saw for crown moulding and trim work.
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Green Construction is an exciting exploration into the process of environmentally responsible and sustainable construction techniques that will attract a lot of student interest. Activities include: installation and testing of a solar panel array, installation of energy-saving plumbing components, and analysis of lighting for electrical efficiency. Students also conduct a LEED audit.
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The fundamental use of hand tools is important for any construction trade. In this CTA students use a variety of hand tools to perform basic and safe woodworking operations. Using inexpensive pine or poplar students apply common woodworking practices to build a take-home project.
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Students will explore the relationship between electricity consumprion and heating and cooling output using meters and testing devices. Using the HVAC trainer students will gain an understanding of the basics of thermodynamics and explore the properties of convection, conduction and radiation.
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A good mason is one of the most valued tradespersons on a construction site. In Masonry skills students learn about the chemistry of mortar and how to mix it properly. Students learn how to cut and lay brick, then build a 3-course concrete block wall.
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In this CTA students learn the basics of correct preparation for painting and staining. Students use spackle filler and putty knives to correct any imperfections. They mask the door and window trim areas. They learn the correct techniques for "cutting in" trim and applying paint with a roller. They also apply four types of stain then sand and apply finish.
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Students learn how to cut and connect four types of pipe. They will prepare and solder copper pipe for water, and cut and thread steel pipe for gas applications. Additionally they explore the different applications for ABS and PVC plastic pipe. Students assemble a drain-waste-vent system; install a sink with taps, tubes and drain; install a toilet with base assembly; and build and test a simulated gas pipe circuit.
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Students first learn to safely use a table saw and then use it to rip a board into strips in preparation for gluing and clamping. The board is then dressed using the jointer and bench top planer. Students will then use a router to create the final pieces for assembing the lid for their custom box. They apply the same principles to build a picture frame.
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Whether flat, gabled, or steeply pitched, the roof not only adds style but adds significantly to the strength of the structure. Students develop their geometry skills while they lay out rafters. They cut and trace the rafters and cut them to size. After cutting the ridge board, they stack the roof frame, cut and fit the lookouts and install the fascia boards.
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Surveying & Site Planning
Surveying and site planning are the foundation of any construction project. Students use elements of mathematics and physics to measure distances, directions and angles between points and elevations, lines and contours. They then construct a detailed topographical model based on site plans.
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In this CTA students will learn how to measure, cut, set and finish both vertical and floor tile. Using the tile setting trainer students will apply mathematics skills to layout the tile grid. Students will cut and fit tile using several types of cutting tools, and apply mortar and grout.
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In Wall Framing Skills students build and connect four complete walls that include window and door sections, using industry-standard procedures. They gain an understanding of the types of fasteners and nailing techniques used in framing. In the framing process students gain an understanding of the terminology and techniques used in construction.
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Weatherization is one of the fastest growing Green construction trades. Millions of homes in the U.S. will require some form of weatherization. This high-activity CTA gives students the opportunity to understand the "whole-house" approach to weatherization. Students learn about the latest weatherization techniques and material applications. Students will demonstrate effective communication skills with the homeowner as an integral part of a successful weatherization project.
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