Tag Archives: science

TEXAS! – finding the TINY in the “everything is bigger” state

Woah, what an amazing trip.

We’ve been back for a few days, but are just getting some time to reflect/catch up now that we are snowed in for the next few days thanks to this “nemo” storm we’re experiencing in MA right now (there’s a driving ban, so we couldn’t go anywhere even if we wanted to!).

TEXAS has more TINY going on than one might think, considering it’s the state known for the slogan, “Everything is Bigger…”. We had an incredible, inspiring time hanging out with the Engineering class at the Ann Richards School in Austin. Those girls are the coolest: they love math and science, the love engineering, and they were wise beyond their years. They were so engaged with their Project Ventura, they came in on Saturday and every day after school. I was super inspired by the work these girls were doing. We learned a lot from each other! You can all go check out their blog: http://projectventura.wordpress.com/. AND, you can help them out because their KICKSTARTER has just LAUNCHED! Please, please, please support these awesome girls by donating if you possibly can – they are the next generation of great innovators. I’ll keep reminding you throughout their campaign, but why wait? Go to their project page now, and donate some $!

Me (in the pink shirt), Matt on the other side, with the ARS class.

Me (in the pink shirt), Matt on the other side, with the ARS class.

In a moment of wonderful fulfillment of life-goals and awesomeness, I also got to talk extensively to the ARS AP Environmental class about radical menstruation (a topic some of you will not be surprised to learn I am very well-versed in and passionate about). It’s an all-girls school, so they were all interested, and they asked! It was the highlight of my life – at least for that moment. I think I had a lot of those moments with the ARS girls. But seriously, I hardly ever get a chance to change awesome young ladies’ lives, but by the end of that talk no one was going to use a tampon again!

I digress!¬†While in TX, we also visited some other inspirational tiny house innovators. We hung out with Brad Kittel at Tiny Texas Houses for more than a few hours, which was wonderful. I filmed a great interview with this visionary man, so once that’s all edited you guys can see it. We also interviewed Garrett Finney – designer of the Cricket Trailer – a personal inspiration to me and the COMET. Right in Austin city limits, we visited and spoke with Tracen Gardner, the man behind the modular tiny house company Reclaimed Space. We’re working on editing all these interviews/tours now, hopefully they will be ready soon-ish! Tiny is becoming a big deal in Texas – and these are just a few of the leaders of this movement for smarter buildings.

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My Life is Validated by Tenth-Grade Girls

 

This is probably the coolest thing that has ever happened to me, so bear with me while I explode with excitement and awe.

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All I ever wanted with this blog and this project was to inspire other people to take their life into their own hands and do something creative with DIY attitude. Well, I never imagined that I would inspire a group of high school girls to undertake such a project, but it’s happening right now!
The girls at the Ann Richards School For Young Women Leaders in Austin TX are not your average tenth-graders. These engineering students focus on project-based learning at their high school. The class’s assignment this year is directly inspired by the COMET, as they turn a 1970’s travel trailer into a solar-powered learning tool. They are incorporating the eco-friendly aspects of the COMET and the small space design techniques of tiny houses into their project. The girls are learning 3D digital modeling, design, green building methods, construction, and more through the hands-on project. Right now, the design groups in the class are coming up with designs, budgets, and plans. The client will choose the winning design, which will be implemented in the trailer this spring.
Needless to say, I was flattered and amazed when their teacher (who is so amazing – I wish I had teachers like this in high school!) emailed me saying that they were undertaking Project Ventura, based on the COMET and my own methods. Now I’m going down to TX this week to teach the class for a week and learn what I can from this group of incredible young women. I can’t wait to see how they’ve improved on my ideas and what they’ve come up with for designs. Matt’s coming as the SketchUp expert, and will be teaching them 3D design using this free program.
I strongly encourage you to check out their blog! It is very detailed and extremely well-written. It will keep you up to date on all of their discoveries and victories. And if you have some money to spare, or think it’s a good cause, consider donating to Project Ventura so that they can begin the building process!
I can’t really describe how happy this class of inspiring young women makes me. I feel like I’ve accomplished a part of what I set out to do with the COMET, and it’s very fulfilling. Of course, I’ll let you all know how the trip goes and I’ll have lots of photos to share. Now go over to http://projectventura.wordpress.com/ and check out these kick-ass ladies!

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