Begin the lesson by reading the books How a House is Built by Gail Gibbons and
Building a House by Byron Barton as a "hook" to interest
students in the project. As you read the stories, point out the variety
of buildings in the text and discuss their purposes.
After reading, you can review the pages of the books to give
students an opportunity to identify different geometric shapes used in
the buildings. (In the main part of the lesson, students will be
sorting and identifying geometric shapes, and this can serve as a good
You can also invite a guest architect to talk about his job and
how mathematics is related to his work. Students can see how the
architect uses various measuring tools when drawing blueprints.
The first major activity of the lesson is sorting plane and
solid figures. Provide students with an assortment of two‑ and
three‑dimensional objects as well as a copy of the Sort ‘Em activity sheet.
Upon completion, review the Sort ‘Em
activity sheet with students. [All items in the top row of the word
bank, from Square to Octagon, are plane figures; all items in the
bottom row, from Cube to Pyramid, are solid figures.] During this
review, be sure to elicit from students what distinguishes a plane
figure from a solid figure. [Plane figures "lie flat," whereas solid
figures take up space.]
Following the sorting activity, students should attempt to find all the geometric shapes in the architectural drawings on the Shape Search
activity sheet. Students should recognize that a variety of shapes are
used in architecture, but more importantly, they should learn the names
and attributes of plane and solid figures.
To conclude the lesson, connect these activities with the math
that students will be learning in the rest of the unit. Introduce how
they will become junior architects who will design their dream
clubhouse. Have students, in small teams of two or three, decide on a
theme for their clubhouse and to make a list of all the items they
believe are essential to include. Some of the themes the students
select may be Sports, Animal Lovers, Art, or Dance. The students’ task
for the next three lessons will be to learn the mathematical skills
required for designing an architectural structure and then to build
their own clubhouses.
Questions for Students
1. How are plane figures and solids different?
[Plane figures "lie flat." On the other hand, solids take up space.]
2. What are some plane and solid figures in and around your classroom?
3. What shapes are harder to find in buildings and around you? Why do you think that is so?
[Shapes with right angles are easier to construct and therefore more common in buildings. Circular shapes and shapes without right angles (pentagons, hexagons, heptagons, etc.) are less common.]
4. In how many different ways can we describe a toy wagon using geometric words?
What are your favorite plane and solid figures? Why?
- Were students able to differentiate between plane and solid figures?
- Did they make connections between geometric shapes and the real world?
- Did you challenge the achievers? How?
- Was your lesson appropriately adapted for the diverse learner?
- Was your lesson developmentally appropriate? If not, what was inappropriate? What would you do to change it?