In a high-ceilinged workshop, junior high students pivot a plywood bed frame through the doors of a gutted school bus. Inside, there's new flooring and, near the back, the beginnings of a composting toilet. Eventually, the bus will have a deck, solar panels, and even a wood-burning stove.
"Most shop classes just make a birdhouse or toolbox, and we're making a tiny home," said Grade 9 student Olivia Saruk. As students drill and hammer, teacher Robert Tymofichuk — also known as Mr. T — gives advice and encouragement.
"It's up to the students to go figure it out," he said. "If it was just the adult giving answers to the questions, what fun would that be?" New Myrnam School is located in Myrnam, Alta., a village 170 kilometers east of Edmonton. It has around 115 students attending in person from kindergarten to Grade 12, with another 85 learning online.
Around six years ago, the school received a $10,000 provincial education grant to build a greenhouse to grow plants year-round.
Since then, students have designed and built a solar tracking array system, a wind turbine, a biofuel reactor, solar-powered golf carts, and a hydroponics system. Now they are converting an old school bus into a net-zero tiny home — or "cool bus," as they like to call it.
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