On April 6, 2013, Nicholas Karatjas participated in a session titled “Using Miniatures in the Family and Consumer Sciences Classroom: Opportunities for Cross-Curricular Learning” at the annual Pennsylvania Association of Family Consumer Science (PAFCS) conference, which was held at the DoubleTree Downtown Pittsburgh. Also presenting at the session were Terri Owens, assistant professor of the IUP Family and Consumer Sciences Education program; Sally McCombie, associate professor of Family and Consumer Sciences Education; and Susan Karatjas, owner of sdk miniatures LLC.
This year’s conference theme was “Planting Seeds for Success.” Throughout the two-day PAFCS conference, various sessions were conducted striving to integrate and provide practical knowledge about the things of everyday life—human growth and development, personal behavior, housing and environment, food and nutrition, apparel and textiles, and resource management—that every individual needs to make decisions that lead to a healthy, productive, and more fulfilling life in our curriculums.
At this particular session, participants learned that miniatures are not just for hobbyists. Miniatures can be used to teach the elements and principles of design, furniture styles, and architectural elements. Miniatures can also be used to facilitate creative writing, problem solving, and discussion of family interaction from an historical perspective. This session introduced participants to a wide range of ideas for using miniatures in the family and consumer sciences classroom. Participants also constructed a miniature furniture item during the session.
Nicholas Karatjas is a board member of the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts (NAME). Susan Karatjas owns sdk miniatures, and it is very much a family business. Susan and her daughter, Pamela Ridgley, handcraft dollhouse miniatures, including plants, furniture, and structures. McCombie, Owens, and Karatjas provided information about using miniatures in the classroom, while Susan Karatjas taught participants how to assemble miniatures. Nicholas Karatjas also provided some information about the hobby and about NAME.
Since Susan Karatjas can create custom orders, she was able to incorporate the PAFCS name and year into the miniature furniture item design. In addition to providing the participants with a working example of her miniature kits, it also gave them a conference keepsake.
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