Students Learn About Architecture Careers with Gingerbread Houses

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Three organizations teamed up to present "Gingerbread Architecture: The Sweet Elements of Design," a class for students interested in architecture and engineering. The Stearns History Museum, Morrison County Historical Society, and Rethos: Places Reimagined held the class, all based in central Minnesota.

Eric Cheever, Stearns History Museum Exhibits and Collections Curator, organized the class to teach kids basic construction principles and terminology.

"I have a small vocab list, so they're going to learn some basic building terms, and they're going to learn how to keep walls from falling, and what makes a strong joint, that sort of thing."

Cheever hopes to inspire the next generation to preserve historical sites. "The role of Rethos is about sustainability. It's about preserving and maintaining older buildings into the future instead of tearing them down and building new ones. And I think that if we can just get kids interested in architecture and building, all the better."

The students work from gingerbread kits that come with blueprints; they can also redesign the blueprints on their own, using principles of architectural theory.

Students construct typical gingerbread houses; they even decorate them with characteristic holiday themes. But the class acts as a primer in architectural concepts such as solid foundations, structural integrity, and introductory physics.

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