Building Bridges: Connecting Heroes’ Dreams to Reality

The heroes have been busy building bridges all week. Researching the coolest and most amazing bridges all around the world inspired the heroes to design bridges based on their own interest and purpose. One hero learned about a crab bridge in Sydney and decided to build a bridge for other animals. Another hero was challenged by moving bridges so he constructed a bridge that extends to double its length! Many other heroes had a blast constructing bridges that reflect their own personalities.

Not only did the heroes build bridges for their Architecture Quest, but they have also been building bridges by extending helping hands to other friends, by offering to read a book together, showing how to write numbers on their scrolls, giving feedback to improve a friend’s writing piece during writer’s workshop, or sharing their materials to build their cities.

The heroes also built bridges connecting school and home through their Portfolio Reviews. They shared with families their goals, challenges, and accomplishments. Through all their effort and hard work, the heroes are constructing bridges that connect their dreams to reality.

Architecture Quest

Week 3

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Launch What do say to someone who is using unkind words? What do you do when you see someone sitting all alone during lunch? What helps you to never give up? Would you still play in a team sport even when you believe that your team will most likely not win against the other team?
Relaunch Would you rather live in a busy city in a skyscraper, or out in the country with a lot of lands to care for? Why? Why do you think humans live so close together? Is it because we feel safe when we’re close together because it’s convenient, or something else? Are you designing a bridge that is more focused on what you like, or what you imagine people would like? What part of the process of designing and building a structure are you most curious about? What will you do to maintain your curiosity?
Project time Bridge Challenge Beam bridge Suspension bridge Draw bridge Arch bridge
Close Town hall meeting

Excellence committee

How did your own preferences affect your designs today? What good came out of working with someone else today? What risks did you take today? What do you wish you had done differently, and what are you proud of?

Week 4

Dome Challenge Strongest dome Colorful row houses Design a museum Geodesic dome


What’s the Cost?

At Journey, real world connections and experiences are crucial.  Too many young adults feel ill equipped for the new chapter of being an adult because they didn’t learn the structure and systems of budgets, taxes, apartment hunting, or other key skills needed after graduation.

During this quest, there are so many experiences tied to architecture and construction.  Heroes are in the stages of prepping for building permits.  There’s an application process, accountability for approval, and implications if building permits are lost or not accessible for inspectors.  With critical documents, there is a tedious process to endure replacing those papers.  MHS has had a taste of this experience.  With missing documents, work had to be paused, searches ensued, and the process of reapplication (with fees) began.  These lessons are hard to walk through, but teach heroes responsibility or accountability.  As the situation progressed, the MHS leader valiantly and humbly chose to replace the permits at cost to themselves.  Part of owning a company or firm is taking responsibility for your team.

Blueprints have been a battle of perseverance, but with collaboration and a sprinkle or grit, MHS is moving on towards Phase 2: Building the Dream.


We’re a team!

An architect shared how important collaboration is in this field. This week, the ES heroes have focused on drawing up their future Journey Academy blueprints. They have listened to their clients, figured out how to calculate square footage, and most importantly, put into practice being a team. Today a few heroes had yet to complete their blueprint and their teammates came alongside to support them so they would achieve this milestone. Great teamwork, heroes!

Have you asked your hero:

  1. What they did with their ELS buddy?
  2. What they wrote during Writer’s Workshop this week?
  3. What our relaunch was about today?
  4. What they completed during project time this week?
  5. How they felt their Portfolio Review went?
  6. What tomorrow is for all those that signed up? Hint – The 5K!

Working as a team during the Architecture Quest!

Creating our blueprints!

Meeting as a team to set “stuffed pepper” goals.

Blueprints, designs, and plans – Oh my!

A Firm Foundation In Jesus

As the heroes focus on building skyscrapers this week, they learned the importance of a solid foundation. Researching and getting inspiration from the tallest skyscrapers in the world, they noticed the firm foundations of each building to support the whole structure. When they designed their own skyscraper, the heroes reminded each other that the foundation needs to be big and strong. Thus, when it came to constructing, they knew that they had to use the biggest and strongest box in the pile to be able to support the other boxes they intend to stack up as high as they could.

These young heroes are just as aware of their need for a firm foundation when they start their day with worship, prayer, and time in the Word. More and more heroes are bringing their own Bibles from home. They look forward to their ten minute devotion time, reading their Bibles, praying, and being silent before their God. When they come together after their devotions, the heroes speak with so much wisdom from the Holy Spirit, sharing about a Bible story, a Bible lesson, or anything that the Lord has spoken to them during their quiet time with Jesus. There could not be any stronger foundation than their special time with Jesus each morning.

During their Socratic discussions, the heroes continue to learn about Keys to Excellence. Each day they learn a new “Key” and share their personal experiences demonstrating excellence. Every time they review the Keys to Excellence they have learned, the heroes are able to recall each one, namely, perseverance, ownership, flexibility, balance, integrity, commitment, speaking with good purpose, and failure leads to success. Not only do they recall them, but the heroes also remind each other throughout the day about these Keys and apply them to their experiences.  

Some heroes were counting the days to Easter and they were really excited to celebrate what Jesus did for them on the cross on Good Friday and His resurrection on Easter Sunday that they wanted Fun Friday to be an Easter Egg Hunt! But they faced an unfamiliar challenge on this Easter Egg Hunt. First, they talked about past experiences from egg hunts wherein some got more eggs than others. Some heroes sadly shared about a time when they were unable to find as many eggs as they wanted. And the heroes who shared about finding the most eggs also admitted that they felt sad for those who did not find many eggs. Thus they all agreed to work together on this unique egg hunt. They would help find all the eggs together and regardless of the number of eggs they find, they had a mission: to find twenty sparkly eggs, each with chocolate bunnies inside. They would need to rescue all the bunnies to have a chance to take them home for Easter, with no bunnies left behind, including all the other eggs they find. If they were unable to find all twenty sparkly eggs, the bunnies (and all the other eggs) would need to stay at school until they find all their brothers and sisters. Throughout the egg hunt, the heroes who filled their baskets of eggs would empty them into one big pile of eggs, counting the sparkly eggs they have found. Some hesitated as they held on to their treasure, but were soon convinced by the other heroes that they are working together to rescue the bunnies.  Unfortunately, at the end of the hunt, one of the sparkly eggs could not be found. Despite their disappointment, many heroes encouraged each other to “keep trying… keep looking for that one last sparkly egg…because failure leads to success.”

Architecture Quest

Week 2

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Key of Excellence


Why is it important to be committed to doing excellent work? What would happen if you are not committed to your goals? How will you face challenges that may distract you from being committed?

Failure leads to success

Think of a time that you failed. How did your failure lead to success?

Speak with good purpose

Why is it important to speak before you speak? What ways would you speak with good purpose throughout the day?


Think of a time when things did not go your way. How did you react to the situation?


Think of a time you took ownership of your mistake? How did you fix your mistake?

Relaunch If you were an architect, would you look to the future and try to create something new, or would you look to the past for inspiration? What about in this quest? What will you do? Will you innovate, or pull from the past? The goal for today is for you to begin discovering your style as an architect.

Do you think you’ll be an architect who breaks boundaries and takes risks or an architect who studies history and revitalizes the great ideas of the past?

This book, Designing Your Life, is all about applying design thinking to your life. In it, the authors talk about the five mindsets of a designer:

Bias to action

Reframing problems


Radical collaboration


Which of these mindsets will allow you to be most successful during this quest?

How to Think Like an Architect: The Design Process

What ways do architects think like scientists? What ways are they different?

How to Draw Like an Architect, Part 1: The Floor Plan

Would you focus on designing the inside or the outside of your skyscraper?

Close Why is it important to have a strong foundation? What will you start doing, stop doing, and continue doing next time? Which mindset of a designer did you use today? What was most challenging about the sketching phase? Did you find you were able to move through ideas quickly or did you and your partner get stuck throughout the process? How did you feel about working together during the Easter egg hunt?

Week 3 Plans

Week 3


Bridge Challenge

Design and build the strongest bridge you can that spans a distance of 45 centimeters (about 1.5 ft.), using any of these materials: drinking straws, paper clips, paper, tape, string or yarn

Paper bridge

Can you build a bridge that holds 100 pennies, using 1 sheet of paper and up to 5 paper clips?

Mondrian-inspired abstract art Suspension bridge

What’s the secret of suspension? What’s the strongest cable?

Design a bridge


Building Far More Than a School

One unique quality about Journey Academy is the focus on many layers of learning.  Heroes learn about concepts, learn how to do various callings such as designing their dream school, and learning how to be.  As heroes are starting to sketch their blueprints, this quest is helping build their character.

Today is Fun Friday.  Heroes who have kept their focus, thoroughly completed their challenges, and met their goals participate in an activity or reward that they choose.  Celebrating perseverance and choosing excellence is a wonderful thing, though, some heroes chose a greater reward today, to serve and assist their architecture firms.  Seeing a hero joyfully and humbly choose service over themselves reiterates why we all believe so strongly in this model of learning. A learner-driven environment allows them to choose for themselves who they want to become and what a beautiful moment it is to see the growth and step into helping others towards success.

There have been so many of these moments of leadership and character development through the week.  The quest may be about architecture, though the fruit so far is building a thriving community of service, leadership, and excellence.

Would you take the blame?

During project time this week, the ES and MHS heroes researched about a building in Las Vegas that had to be torn down. There were 5 different articles about who was to blame. The heroes drew from a hat to learn what “role” they had in the building process of that Las Vegas building and had to present their argument to prove their innocence in the process. This placed the heroes right into the story, and wow did it get interesting!

Two heroes who were the CEOs of the construction company came to me and said, “Miss Amy, after reading the articles, I think we are guilty. What should we do?” Deciding they would want to admit their mistakes more questions were asked of them. Those questions opened their eyes to what could potentially happen to them, their families, their company, and their employees.

Upon realizing the detriment of what pleading guilty could do the oldest hero, without skipping a beat, he looked at his partner and said, “I’m going to throw him under the bus.” That hero quickly looked back and replied, “Well then, I am going to throw you under the bus!” How quickly they turned on each other.

During our debrief that day, their story was shared as an example of what temptations can arise when mistakes are made by companies and partnerships. If you believe you are at fault, “Would you take the blame?” One hero said, “I tried to pay off the judge (which was one of the roles during project time), but the judge didn’t take my bribe.”

As the heroes continued to discuss the thought of making sinful choices, shared what we – as disciples of God – should do no matter how hard it might be. One commented, “We need to own our mistakes no matter how hard the consequences could be.” Another stated, “Think about it… Let’s just say you get away with it… So now you are living with that guilt for the rest of your life. That’s not the kind of life I want to live.” When tempted with sin, these heroes said they would rather admit their wrongdoing and learn from the experience. What a great example of humility and a desire to have a growth mindset.

Have you asked your hero:

  1. What they are working on right now for the Architecture Quest?
  2. Who their new ELS buddy is?
  3. What the discovered on their field trip today?
  4. What the word, “Hosanna” means?
  5. What was Jesus saying without saying it when he road a colt to the temple?
  6. When Portfolio Reviews are?
  7. Who their Principal Architect is?

We had a great time visiting with our buddies this morning and going to Steelcase for our field trip.

Another big hit for future discussions in the future JA school.

This table is one giant stack of sticky notes. How about this table for Character Callouts?

Building during buddy time.

This was a big hit for the heroes. You could draw on this screen.

“We both fit!”

Check out their tall tower!

This structure is being held up by four posts.

Figuring out how this Steelcase chair was made.

Buddies hard at work building.

These heroes love this Steelcase couch.

These heroes like this table for discussion time.



The ES heroes with Andy Warhol art covering the wall behind us.

Architects of their Destinies

The heroes started their Architecture Quest with passion and confidence that they will become excellent architects in this quest. Every morning they have been considering what it takes to become excellent. They pondered the possibilities of a hero being born excellent or becoming excellent through hard work. Many heroes pointed out the need to work hard to do excellent work and become excellent at what they do. But one hero convinced some heroes that “we are all born excellent because God made all of us excellent and we would not even be able to do excellent work if God did not create us but He did!”

Their quest for excellence in Architecture has begun as the heroes research, design, and construct amazing buildings and structures. They discussed the importance of each step in the process and what would happen if they skip some steps. They imagined various scenarios and thought about what would happen if an architect decided to construct a building without researching and designing. Similarly, they described what would happen if an architect only researches and design but never constructs anything. They all agreed that they would need to do research, designing, and then construct to become excellent architects.

As architects, the heroes will be creating their own miniature cities throughout their Architecture quest. They have been inspired by the work of famous architects this week, but their favorite fictional architect is Iggy Peck because of the various materials he uses like pancakes, fruits, and even diapers! The heroes are starting to visualize their city made of materials they see around the house. They would like to ask their families to save cardboard tubes, cereal boxes, cans, and any plastic containers or cardboard containers that they may transform into buildings for their cities.

ELS Architecture Quest

Weekly Challenges

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Week 1


Geometric shapes

Architecture shape collage


Which shape is more stable, a triangle or a square?

Shapes lab
Week 2


Skyscraper Challenge Columns

Can a toilet-paper tube support your weight?

Milk carton houses/

box water

Newspaper tower Design a skyscraper
Week 3


Bridge Challenge Paper bridge Mondrian-inspired abstract art Suspension bridge Design a bridge
Week 4


Dome Challenge Geodesic dome Ancient Greek architecture Design a museum Structures
Week 5


Tunnel Challenge Meeting in the middle City block painting Build a toothpick structure Build a cardboard house
Week 6

Box city

Dam Challenge Under pressure Colorful row houses Make a sandcastle Forces lab
Week 7


Sensory aspects of your studio Building types Recipe for a city –

pt 1

Recipe for a city –

pt 2

Recipe for a city –

pt 3

Week 1: April 10-12, 2019

Wednesday Thursday Friday

Sibling day

Launch Do you think it’s more important for a hero to have persistence (focus on the goal), or resilience (getting back up after being knocked down)? Is excellence something you do, or something you are? Character Call outs for siblings
Relaunch Many architects feel that architecture is the perfect blend of creativity and technicality. Which do you think plays the biggest role in deciding if an architect will be successful? Which will be most challenging for you to master? Is it more important for a building to be functional and efficient or to be beautiful and visually appealing? Do buildings affect how you feel? How does our JA academy building make you feel? How does your home make you feel? Can you remember a time when a building made you feel sad or uncomfortable?
Close Character callouts for Claire Siblings day planning How would you make the Architecture quest excellent?


Your Sibling Did What?!

This short week has been packed full of challenging fun.  Heroes have set new stretch goals, began researching architecture styles and heroes, hosted their siblings, and used their creativity to rearrange the studio.
For sibling day, MHS hosted 4 siblings!  Each sister got their own set of challenges and earned hero bucks for each completed task.  For a culmination, our guest heroes were able to use their hero bucks at the hero store to celebrate their hard work.
The MHS studio is looking forward to this coming week where they will be learning about scale, sketching blueprints, and elevation sketches.

The following is a brief outline of the exciting experiences that the MHS heroes will embark on in mastering the field of architecture.

Week 1

Explore various architecture styles and learn about key heroes within their favorite styles.

Week 2

Heroes will utilize their knowledge on measurement and scale to create blueprints.

Week 3

This week, MHS will create elevation sketches and serve as principal architects for their architecture teams.

Week 4

Upon approval for their building permit, heroes will begin constructing Phase one of their dream Journey Academy with their architecture engineering program.

Week 5

Heroes will focus on detail, flow, and landscaping within their builds.

Week 6

MHS will create and practice their marketing pitches for online tours of their proposed design.

Week 7

It’s time for the exhibition.  Hero architects will be revealing their schools from blueprints to actual virtual tours of their schools.