Overview

Work-based learning (WBL) is an effective tool for educators to link what is taught in the classroom to what is needed to thrive as employees and citizens. Skills and habits ranging from punctuality to problem-solving and collaboration to critical thinking may best be acquired in the context of jobs and work. Application of classroom concepts, like solving for x when doing a cost analysis for project supplies, make learning more meaningful. That is why the Iowa Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning and the Home Builders Association of Iowa are pleased to host the Build Iowa’s Future design challenge for Iowa’s school districts, accredited nonpublic schools and related before- and after-school programming. A set of three awards – $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place and $300 for third place – will be made to schools in each of the K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 grade bands for projects scored and selected by reviewers. Prize money may be used for school WBL activities. Challenge sponsors include the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees, Kreg Tool Company, and Pella Corporation. Outstanding designs may be shared on the Clearinghouse and HBA of Iowa websites and through their other publications and events.

How It Works

This design competition is open to teachers and students in school districts and accredited nonpublic schools who sign up to participate through the Clearinghouse. The intent to participate form can be filled out below. Elementary and middle school students may participate in the Iowa Home Design Challenge by constructing a model home using materials such as toy plastic construction bricks, wood blocks and a variety of other materials of their choice. Originality is encouraged. High school students may participate in the Iowa Dream and Design Challenge, which involves conceptualizing and designing a project that could improve their community, such as a school athletic storage facility, a ramp for a disabled person’s home or a prairie birdhouse among other ideas. Students will seek feedback about project feasibility from people who would be impacted, but students will not actually build the project.

Challenge Details

Timeline

  • Aug. 18, 2021 – Window to submit the letter of intent to participate form opens. A teacher may submit one letter for multiple students provided the letter includes the estimated total number of intended projects.
  • Sept. 29, 2021 – Letter of intent form (available below) is due no later than 11:59 p.m. Sept. 29, 2021. Be sure to include name and contact information – email address and cell phone number – for the lead applicant with each letter.
  • April 1, 2022 – Submission deadline for all projects and related materials is 11:59 p.m., Friday, April 1, 2022. Each submission must include the name of the teacher, the school, school address, grade level(s) of the student teams and the number of students who participated on each team.
  • April 29, 2022 – Review panel(s) will evaluate designs and related materials.
  • May 4, 2021 – First-, second- and third-place winners in each of the three grade bands – nine prizes total – will be announced.

Iowa Home Design Challenge

Students in grades K-5 and 6-8 are invited to build a model home – with toy plastic construction bricks, wood blocks or a variety of other materials of their choice – that demonstrates building excellence. Please note, however, that prefabricated construction kits will not be allowed.

Each team must have at least two members. After a team finishes building a home, their teacher will upload their essay (up to 400 words maximum K-5 and up to 800 words maximum 6-8) written by one or more of the team members describing:

  • the home’s quality and design specifications
  • why the home would be a great place to live
  • what students learn in school that connects to specific careers involved in the project.

In addition, teachers will upload at least one photo of the home and may provide up to two other artifacts – including photos, videos or other items – that showcase the work students have done.

Materials needed: toy plastic construction bricks, wood blocks or a variety of other materials.

Academic domains: mathematics, science and English/language arts. Here is a guide to how the challenge connects to state academic standards: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18C-ap5roBIcNOGAxdGyEl4_GjsDGekht1Wq-vGY52Kw/edit

Hours involved: estimated five to 10. Please note: Essays that exceed 400 words K-5 and 800 words 6-8 may be disqualified.

Iowa Dream and Design Challenge

Student teams in grades 9-12 are invited to improve their community by identifying the need for a project, such as a school athletic equipment storage facility, a ramp for a disabled person, a garden shed, a neighborhood mini-library or a bird house for a park or prairie, among other possibilities. Students are not expected to build the actual project, but to explore whether it is doable.

Each team must have at least two members. After a team finishes designing their project and other required components, their teacher will upload their essay (up to 800 words maximum) written by one or more team members describing:

  • the project’s quality, including design specifications, and a detailed cost analysis
  • the impact project could have locally
  • feedback from school and/or community partners or individuals who would be affected, including whether they think the project is viable
  • what students learn in school that connects to specific careers involved in the project.

In addition, their teacher will upload no more than three artifacts – such as photos, screen shots and design files – to the challenge portal on the Clearinghouse website to showcase the work students have done.

Materials needed: Access to a device for creation from paper and pencil to design software, among other things.

Academic domains: mathematics, English/language arts, career and technical education and social studies. Here is a guide to how the challenge connects to state academic standards: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18C-ap5roBIcNOGAxdGyEl4_GjsDGekht1Wq-vGY52Kw/edit

Hours involved: estimated 15 to 25. Please note: Essays that exceed 800 words may be disqualified.

Do you have more questions? Check out our FAQ page.

Letter of intent to participate form

The window opens Aug. 18, 2021, to submit the letter of intent to participate on the form provided (link) on the Clearinghouse website. The letter must be submitted by Sept. 29, 2021.

Building Iowa's Future Letter of Intent

  • You are able to select multiple grades by holding shift while you click.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.