I was beyond excited to finally have the class that was coveted by all MSEL’ers, Engineering. I was ready to have a class that was all hands on work, as I find this the best way to learn. When I learned we would be building chicken coops, I thought about the ones past classes had made and I just thought to myself, “How am I ever gonna figure out how to build that?”

The hands on work allowed me to slowly figure out how to use all the tools and get more comfortable. We talked about floors, roofs, walls, windows, and more. But I still felt overwhelmed with the fact that we were going to actually be building this thing that people would want to buy (hopefully). Once we got into our groups and started making drawings, that’s when it all started to feel more real, and not like something we had just talked about in class.

Many people know my chicken coop as “that giant one” and wonder why it’s so big. I too, wonder how that ended up happening, how our chicken coop ended up being so massive. It sure is challenging to build something that big. We’re way behind all the other groups, but when we finish, ours will definitely be one of the most original.

In building our coop, there has been a lot of setbacks. First off, we lost our drawings, so we had to redraw everything, and also sort of make up the design on the go. We striped heaps of screws on the daily, no matter how hard we try, it always happens. Since our chicken coop is so big, we had to spend a lot of time with the chicken wire, which is extremely tedious. The first time we did it, we didn’t make the wire tight enough so we had to take out ALL of the staples and re-do it! Our floor wasn’t wide enough, and our front door and back wall were both too wide. We had to unscrew our walls and floor, re-cut the wood, and then put them back together. But once we were able to get all 4 walls up, it was so satisfying.

My group has a lot of fun together. Yes, we’ve had a lot of setbacks and made a lot of silly mistakes, but we always have fun together. We always are playing music and are constantly dancing, and we still accomplish all of our daily goals. When a challenge comes up, we are able to stay positive and work through whatever comes our way. Through all of the challenges that we’ve experienced. We have learned so much. We have learned how to handle all of these mistakes, mastered the chop saw, improved our staple gun skills, and we’re able to drill without even thinking about it.

The day that really allowed me to see how much I’d learned, was when a group of 19 Japanese students came to visit our engineering class and assist us in building for the day. At first I was thinking, how are we ever going to get anything done if we have to spend the whole day trying to explain how to use a tool we just figured out how to use? But what I thought would happen didn’t end up being true at all. I was able to teach a student how to use the staple gun (he hardly spoke any English) and my group and I taught the 3 other students how to put on chicken wire. When I noticed I was able to teach someone else how to use a tool that I wouldn’t have known how to use a year ago, the importance of this class and the amount I had learned was really put into perspective for me.

I’m so excited to see how our chicken coop finally turns out. I’m excited to learn about how to make a living roof, because that will definitely be a challenge. People like to comment on how huge our chicken coop is, but I think that makes it more unique, plus the chickens who end up living in that coop will be pretty spoiled with all of that space and the high ceilings.  


  1. Morgan, I can relate to the fact that hands on learning is the best way to learn. It’s important when challenges come up that we keep a positive attitude and try to overcome it. Keep up the good work.

  2. I loved this blog post. Our coop is so big but it has been a blast to work on it with you and the rest of the group. I too love the hands on learning environment. Losing the plans and having to rebuild our walls so many times got annoying, but we powered through and I’m excited to see how our coop turns out!

  3. Morgan- I really empathize with your favoritism for engineering class. I really enjoyed reading about your thought process and how you went about creating your… masterpiece. Our group went through very similar struggles. Keep it up!

  4. I like how big it is and no one can tell that your team has had any set backs at all! I cant even count on 6 hands how many stupid mistakes we have made ahah
    I loved the Japanese kids, it was fun teaching them everything and seeing how excited they all were 🙂

  5. Morgan, your positive attitude is always helpful. I’m absolutely positive that building a seven foot-tall chicken coop would not be possible without. Hopefully we can tackle that living roof. From what I hear it’s quite advanced. But with your positive attitude I honestly believe we can do it!

  6. I really like your blog Morgan! I know exactly how it feels to have to take apart the coop and put it back together again– we had to that like a million times. :(( I am really looking forward to being able to see your coop!

  7. Your coop is massive, but you’re right about it being super unique! I agree, this class is great and the most educational class I’m in by far. Your positive energy in our class is contagious and I can always look to you as a happy and focused role model. I am so excited to finish our chicken coops and see what the finished products look like. I have learned so much from you and this class!

  8. I love that your chicken coop is giant because its different from anyone else’s. I can relate to a lot of the things you wrote about because my groups had a lot of setbacks too and we also had to re do some of our walls. And it was way easier to show the Japanese students how to use the tools than I thought also!

  9. Your coop definitely is huge, but chickens deserve mansions too. My group also had to take down a few walls because they were either too tall or wide. Don’t worry you’re not alone on that problem and your coop will be great!

  10. Your group definately looks like they have a lot of fun because everytime I look out the window, I see you guys laughing and having the time of your lives. Your coup is really big but I can’t wait to see how it turns out in the end!

  11. Morgan, I love the attitude you and your group members have. When faced with a problem, you are usually the first to laugh it off. ‘Laughing it off’ is actually an amazing attribute to possess in high school especially, you can’t ace every test and beating yourself up about (when viewed in retrospect) a trivial grade, doesn’t really end up helping your fried mindset. Also, Chickens deserve spoiling, your coop is great!

  12. Our group also lost our drawings! it was a setback but like you we worked our way around it. Super cool day teaching the japanese students how to use the tools and I think it showed me even more how much I have already learned.

  13. Stripping screws is my specialty! I totally relate to the feeling of how the heck am I going to build a chicken coop, and looking back I still don’t know how I have gotten this far. This class is probably the best because a lot of us came into MSEL because we wanted to learn material through hands on learning, and this class really does support that learning style.

  14. I know I mocked you for your ginormous coop… haha but I love it! And now all of our coops are getting that big too! I 100% agree that this class impacts all of us, and that it was really fantastic to share it with the Japanese students. I feel like with all the fun we have, it still IS the most productive class all week!

  15. Awesome Job Morgan!! I loved reading about your experience in the class and I definitely agree with you that hands on learning is the best way to learn. Your group works really well together and I can’t wait to see what your coop looks like in the end.

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