Bring in several blueprints from different builders for students to
explore for this part of the project. In addition, show them how maps
are drawn to scale. (Note that the concept of scale may be difficult
for students, especially for younger students in the early part of the
3‑5 grade band. You may therefore choose to forego an introduction to
scale, and just tell students that each square on grid paper represents
If you invited an architect to class during the first lesson of this unit, Getting to Know the Shapes,
then take this opportunity to remind students of the important ideas
shared by the architect. If an architect did not join you for the first
lesson, now would be another appropriate time to invite one to class.
The architect can bring blueprints of projects on which she has worked;
and, if possible, she should bring blueprints of buildings that the
students might have seen.
In this lesson, students will create a scale drawing of the
clubhouse. You may use the blueprints to help children identify
architectural symbols for structures such as doors, windows, and walls.
Then, work with the students to develop architectural criteria that
must be met in constructing their clubhouse, like the example list
below. This can lead to a good mathematical discussion. Students should
understand that some of the criteria are necessary to keep costs
reasonable, such as limiting the area; others are necessary due to
human factors, such as the height of the ceiling.
Architectural Criteria for the Clubhouse
Design a scale drawing of your clubhouse
on one‑inch graph paper. A scale is a proportion between two sets of
measurements. When architects draw plans for a house, they cannot draw
the plans the same size as the real house, because the plans would be
too large. Therefore, they must scale the drawing to a smaller size.
As you create a scale drawing, be sure that your clubhouse meets the following criteria:
- The ceilings are no higher than 10 feet.
- The total perimeter cannot exceed 48 feet.
- The clubhouse should be no larger than 150 square feet.
- The clubhouse may be any shape.
- Doors and windows must be at least 1 foot apart. Doors should be wide enough that furniture will fit through.
- All walls, doors and windows must be drawn with a 90° angle, perpendicular to the floor.
- The clubhouse should be drawn to scale and should be realistic and reasonable in size.
Next, students use the theme for their clubhouse to develop the
scaled blueprint on one‑inch graph paper. They should include all
exterior features on their floor plan, such as doors, windows and
walls. They may add other items like furniture, also, but they will
need to pay close attention to the dimensions of these items so that
they will actually fit into the clubhouse.
Note that creating a clubhouse requires attention to many
details. Consequently, you may want to have students work in pairs, as
having the support of a partner may be helpful.
- Distribute one‑inch graph paper
to students. (Note that this sheet measures 11" × 17". If you are
unable to print pages of that size, a sheet of half‑inch graph paper
measuring 8.5" × 11" can be downloaded here.
- Have students decide on common architectural symbols and make a class legend.
- Make sure students make the doors, windows and furniture items
realistic by using the 1 inch = 1 foot scale on their drawings. (For
example, a doorway should be at least 3 inches wide on the drawing, so
that in real life it would be 3 feet wide.)
Students often get very into these drawings, and they add a lot of
detail to personalize them. As shown below, students often add
furniture, carpet, animals, and other elements to make it their own.
In the final lesson of the unit, students will recognize geometric
shapes in their building designs and form a three‑dimensional model at
1" scale. As students work on their scale drawings, remind them that
blueprints are used to make the construction of buildings easy;
therefore, their scale drawing should contain enough detail so that
they can use it to build a model of their clubhouse.