Florida house

Florida house

You are a new Florida settler in what will become Volusia County.

Thursby House in Blue Spring State Park, near Orange City, Florida

The year is 1872. You have brought a few family treasures from your home in Connecticut. You worked as a ship-builder so you know how to do most of the work to build your new house.

Work through the steps of the Engineering design process to help you figure out what is the best house design and how to build it. Remember, the hurricane season is almost over but the cold winter nights will be here soon, so you will have to work quickly.
Qfocus : A practical Florida house in 1872
ASK – identify the problem

  • build a house using materials that can be gathered locally
  • special needs unique to Florida
  • hot in summer
  • rain, hurricanes are common
  • cold in winter – often near freezing for ?? days each year
  • lots of trees – type
  • other material available
  • items that can be made
  • items that have to be shipped from ?? Sears & Roebuck

IMAGINE – brainstorm, explore similar solutions, possible improvements, materials, methods, new ideas

  • houses at the time in other parts of the country were mostly brick
  • make the house cooler in summer
  • prepare for heavy rain and hurricanes
  • make whatever is necessary, practical, possible
  • make do without items that can’t be made

PLAN – design, work out what it takes to build, any special tools, prototype, scale model, mathematical model, CAD

  • try out some ideas
  • build scale model
  • build just one part (“sub-system”) for demonstration

CREATE – build it, try it out – testing, use it

  • build the final design

IMPROVE – make it better, additional features

  • what would you do differently next time?
  • what would you need to make improvements? Materials? Skills? Tools? Time? Money?

ENGINEERING – vocabulary, concepts

  • HVAC, water storage, construction,


Learn more…

  • Florida houses – breezeway – Gamble, Blue Spring
  • building materials
  • period construction methods
  • furniture
  • interior / exterior design styles
  • Louis P. Thursby House [1] [2]
  • Florida historic homes, Orlando Sentinel
  • Victorian preservation including Florida