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Apr 29, 2016 10:21 AM EDT

‘House Hunters,’ Tiny Houses Rock Innovative Ideas For High School Students

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In New York, Bethlehem Central High School teacher Jessica Westervelt drew inspiration from the popular TV series "House Hunters International." She adopted the concept of the said show and created an activity for her Spanish class.

Like what happens in the show, she assigns students to work in three per group and act out like real estate agents who will find houses in a foreign country which speaks in Spanish.

Westervelt took advantage of the activity to teach different vocabularies for Spanish 3 lessons. The exercise incorporates the curriculum with her students' interest. It was easy for her to introduce this activity to the class because at that time the show was on its prime.

Westervelt acts out as the client whereas the group of students will help her out look for a house to live in or to rent for vacation in a Hispanic country.

The groups typically make a brochure​ ​to describe the houses they found. Presentation is done by group as team of realtors discussing to a client. The whole activity is conducted in Spanish while other students listen and take note to practice their writing, listening and conversational skills.

Meanwhile, students in Pflugerville, Texas' Hendrickson High School take Geometry in Construction ​​class with a new twist. According to an interview with Jerry Richey and Brittany Matchett, the founding teachers of the said program, students build a tiny house in a year to complete the course.

Richey said they were able to improve the ideas of his tiny house classes by watching relevant shows.  Most of the students who attend the course are familiar with tiny house, Matchett added.

The class is divided into two. First half of the class is done by studying Geometry with Matchett while the other half is learning construction with Richey.

For Richey, Geometry students in this set up do better than the traditional course because they get to experience what they learn and the practices are on-hand. Matchett encourages traditional geometry classrooms to tap in this innovative way of teaching.

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