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Group Teaching Schools How to Build Tiny Houses

Do you think creating a tiny home on wheels should be affordable and accomplishable for the average person, and even the average high school student? That’s what the creators of The Collaborative Tiny House Project believe, and they’ve put together a Kickstarter campaign to make it happen.

Jesse Anselm, one of the Collaborative members, was a student at Riverside High School in Chattaroy, Washington who took part in an integrated curriculum that taught students to build a tiny house during the school year, and then sell it at cost to pay for materials for the following year’s class to build a new house.  The course taught Riverside Students teamwork and skills in the trades, in addition to earning them academic credit in math, science and English.  Architect Saul Hansen volunteered with the class, helped brainstorm the Collaborative with Anselm, and together they brought on additional team members with specialties in the construction trades, and with video and photography.

Group Teaching Schools How to Build Tiny Houses

Tiny House Collaborative Kickstarter

Their prior work. Photo by the Tiny House Collaborative

The Collaborative is now raising money to document, improve and share this curriculum with additional schools and with individuals. If successful, their Kickstarter will pay for materials for a new house they can fully build, carefully document, and then give away for free to someone nominated on their website!

Here’s a video about their project, and the give-away:

They’ve just added a new series of Kickstarter rewards that include everything from art and affordable tiny house plans they’ve developed with Brad Kittel of Texas Tiny Houses, to a full video tutorial series on how to build a tiny house, to one-on-one phone consultations and in-depth custom design help like 3-D modeling.

Another unique house by Brad Kittel. Images © HomeAway/Justin Robinson

Brad Kittel Victorian Texas Tiny House

Their site describes their goal as, “To empower high schools across the nation with the opportunity to offer this curriculum to their students, to enable them to deeply connect with their communities, and learn invaluable life lessons along the way.”

That sounds like something worth supporting to me. Engaging school students with an interesting, hands-on and practical project like building a tiny house is a great way to teach useful skills they can use to build a stable financial future, and to understand that there’s a huge spectrum of places and spaces that people call home. My appreciation goes out to the Tiny House Collaborative team for undertaking this work and trying to find a way to share it more widely with schools and people around the country.

You can learn more on their website, including where you can nominate someone for their FREE tiny house giveaway! And, of course, check out their Kickstarter to see the full list of rewards. After all, if they don’t reach their goal they can’t build a tiny house to give away!

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Billy Ulmer
Billy Ulmer is the author of the Life in a Tiny House Ebook, a collection of photos and in-depth interviews with people who designed and built their own tiny homes. He writes about how home shapes our lives at UnlikelyLives.com.
{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Matthew LaBar September 21, 2015, 1:09 pm

    I see the tiny house on wheels industry growing greatly. My question is with weight being important why are people not using metal studs for the exterior framing ? It is stronger and lighter than wood.

    • Chris September 21, 2015, 7:35 pm

      Although metal studs are much lighter than wood, they are not stronger. They are not rated for load bearing applications.

      • Matthew LaBar September 21, 2015, 8:28 pm

        Sir , when a metal stud has an exterior sheathing applied to it in conjunction with an interior wall finish ,the metal stud has more than double the vertical strength. Now the metal studs have only less than half the shear strength. Either way the metal studs are stronger and lighter when built in the same manner as wood . Thanks.

        • Chris September 21, 2015, 9:16 pm

          If what you’re saying is true, than everyone would be doing it, but nobody is. I happened to marry a journeywoman carpenter and I have it on good authority that steel studs cannot be used for load bearing. If you don’t believe me, ask a carpenter.

  • K September 21, 2015, 4:04 pm

    These guys are re-creating the wheel, which is too bad because they will waste all that money making tutorials that already exist in very VERY complete form on youtube. Here, for example: https://www.youtube.com/user/tinynestproject

  • Rich September 21, 2015, 11:30 pm

    I believe that the continued prevalent use of wood framing has as much to do with politics and lobbying as it does with engineering.

    • Matthew LaBar September 22, 2015, 12:16 am

      Sir , just because an individual is not experienced with a particular method does not make it unacceptable. The structural data is there and avaliable. The tiny house movement is also about living an eco-friendly and cost effective. I am also a journeyman carpenter who has had the opportunity to participate in both wood and metal construction . The teaching of both methods equally in trade schools would be a welcome to the industry and greatly needed.Thank you.

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