Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Thinking Like an Architect ~ A Crew Review

Finding a science course for a kinesthetic learner who does not particularly like math can be a challenge at any age, but especially at the high school level when you know they need a solid course for their transcript. That is the main reason I was interested in the opportunity to have Arlene use Thinking Like an Architect, one of two courses currently available from Innovators Tribe. We received this awesome opportunity from the Homeschool Review Crew, and now that Arlene is getting into using the CAD (computer aided design) software for designing her dream house... well, frankly, it is hard to get her off the computer! I had to remind her that I needed to tell everyone about this gem of a course - and soon!

Architect, STEM, Hands On


Thinking Like an Architect is the brainchild of Mr. K, who teaches the course through online videos. He shares his love of hands-on learning, and reminds parents that their children need T.E.E. (technology and engineering education.) One of the reasons he created this course, and the Thinking Like an Engineer course, is because there was not a solid T.E.E. course available online for homeschoolers and private school teachers to use to teach the basic skills that used to be taught in Industrial Arts and shop classes.

Thinking Like an Architect combines online, self-paced video lessons, hands on-projects, and the use of an amazing CAD software program to teach student what an Architect is and what they do. It gives them opportunities to learn: terminology, how to read blueprints, and how to make their own scale drawings. At the end of the course, students will have designed their own dream house using the software and can print out the scale paper model pieces and assemble it. How cool is that?!

Architect, STEM, Hands On

In the pictures above you can see: Arlene drawing her outside house walls (top right) while watching the instructional video on how to use the software as she learns where to find the various tools on the toolbar. Bottom left is the blueprint version of her kitchen windows and the bottom middle is the dollhouse view of her kitchen. The top left is after she had added some paint to the kitchen wall, and chosen floor coverings.

This course is designed for grades 6-12, but I think it would be best for grades 8 and up, as they might better appreciate the opportunities the CAD software provides. If you are using it with a student under 10th grade, there may be a few exercises where they come to you for help understanding the math behind architecture. It is only an overview of the math, with a heavier emphasis on the terminology and the designing, but when it comes time to measure the height of their own house, they may need a little help with the equation and how to enter it into a scientific calculator. (Fear not - you can use the calculator app on your phone for this one!) The materials needed include a T-square, and Architect's rule, some printer paper for the daily activities, and about 40 more pages of printer paper for the scale model. If you don't have access to the T-square, there is a tutorial in the program on how to make one, and a temporary architect ruler you can print out and use. Arlene borrowed a T-square from Grandma, and I bought her an architect's rule for about $5. If your favorite craft and hobby store is the same as ours - you can find both items there and use your 40% off coupon. :)

STEM, architecture, hands on learning


Before she began the course, I printed out the course outline/checklist for Arlene and she put it in a 3 ring binder. As she has completed the other activities that lead up to using the CAD software, she has added them to her binder. Near the beginning of the course she was assigned to do research on a famous architect. When I checked in with her that afternoon, she had created a nice powerpoint presentation about Sir Joseph Paxton and his most famous works.

Architect, STEM, Hands On

There are couple of points to remember when your student is using this course. First - make sure you click on all of the videos as they appear and watch them all the way through before moving on. Most of them are short, but the information in them is vital to understanding the assignments the student will complete. This course is designed to take about 30 hours, but may take your student longer if they decide to get very detailed with the CAD software and their dream home. If you are wanting to use the course for a semester's worth of credit for high school you can add in extra work on studying architecture, writing reports on famous architects, or perhaps your student can job shadow a local architect in your community to get the required hours.

The second point is this - do not rush your student! When they get to the CAD software it is imperative that they watch each section of the learning the software videos. The first time Arlene tried to use it she missed an important video. Once we re-watched the videos together she understood how the software menu works, and she was off to design.

Overall, Arlene and I both agree that Thinking Like an Architect is a good value for the cost. I am sure if I tried to purchase the CAD design software on my own for her to use it would cost more than the course does, and the course it a valuable asset in her learning.

From Arlene (age 17)
I really liked the Thinking Like an Architect program because it was interactive and had lots of fun things to do. I learned a lot about different kinds of architecture and architects and all the possibilities of things to do once you become an architect. I learned about the different tools they use, some different architects from history, how they make blueprints blue, how to make my own blueprints,  and how to use the software that the pros use to design houses and buildings. 

Trust me, this is one Arlene will continue to use long after the review is over. She is currently hovering nearby waiting for me to finish typing this review so she can get back to designing her house. :)


You can learn all about Thinking Like an Architect and Thinking Like an Engineer on the Innovators Tribe website.



Thinking Like an Architect or Engineer {Innovators Tribe Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer



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