In this lesson, students will create a model of the clubhouse that they
designed. Note that students with visual‑perception problems may have
difficulty with this part of the unit, and you may want to offer
alternative activities for them. In addition, depending on how you
chose to handle the previous lesson, Creating a Two-Dimensional Blueprint,
you may either allow students to work individually or in pairs on this
lesson. Note that communication may be enhanced if students work in
Present a shoebox, cereal box, or some other container, and ask the
students to identify the total number of faces the container has. Ask
for a volunteer to draw the container as a flat two‑dimensional figure,
as if it had been cut along several sides and unfolded. Repeat the same
task with other shapes and other students. Allowing students to attempt
this on their own can lead to a worthwhile mathematical discussion.
In addition, you may want to have several nets for various
geometric figures available. Allow students to fold the nets into the
solids they represent, so that students fully understand the concept.
Examples of nets for cubes can be found in many real-world situations,
so this is a good opportunity to share the nets for octahedrons and
other, more complicated shapes.
Explain that a geometric net is a two‑dimensional
figure that can be folded or made into a three‑dimensional model. In
the figure below, the nets of a rectangular prism, a square pyramid,
and a triangular prism are shown. (In addition, several other
three‑dimensional figures are shown, and you might want to ask students
what the nets of those objects would look like.) You can copy and
display this image on an overhead projector using the Nets and Solids Overhead Sheet.
Nets and Solids Overhead Sheet
Then, ask students to discuss the following:
- How are geometric nets like architectural drawings of buildings?
- What would a net of your classroom look like? …your school?
- How many faces would the net of a tetrahedron have? …an octahedron?
Serving as the "building inspector," inspect the two‑dimensional
designs of the student clubhouses. Base your inspection on the
architectural criterion that has been used throughout the project. Some
of the items on the checklist for inspection are:
- blueprints with straight lines;
- 90° angles on all doors and windows; and,
- proper spacing of windows.
After the design is approved, students receive poster board to begin
construction. Students measure the walls using the calculations and
drawings on their blueprints, and then cut out the walls with windows
and doors. Four rectangular walls are cut from the cardboard pieces,
and two rectangles and two triangles are cut for the roof (see the
image below). These pieces are taped together and the calculations and
measurements begin. Students should use protractors to make sure that
the doors and windows are perpendicular to the floor, and they should
use their scale drawings to help with the placement of the doors and
This task of transferring measurements from the blueprint to
construction paper and building the model can be very challenging for
the junior architects. Students need practice using the ruler to
measure in inches and in fractions of an inch. One advantage of the
project is that students learn how to use a ruler properly in a
meaningful context, rather than as an isolated skill measuring segments
or static pictures. Students engaged in this project will measure using
tools, revise their drawings, and design with a purpose in mind.
Unlike textbook problems, this project allows for many
explorations with student‑generated problems. Students will ask
questions such as, "How can I fit a door and three windows in the front
of my house? What should the dimensions be? How many feet should be
between the windows and doors?" These types of questions will allow you
to take advantage of teachable moments whenever they present
After students finish with the clubhouse, distribute the Junior Architects Problem-Solving Packet,
which contains several open‑ended tasks involving area, perimeter, and
money concepts for students to make decisions about decorating their
own clubhouse. In one of the tasks, students compare prices from three
different paint stores and determine which store gives them the best
bargain on paint. In other tasks, students determine the perimeter of
the doors and windows of their clubhouse.
Junior Architects Problem-Solving Packet
The amount of information contained in the Problem Solving Packet
is substantial, and it may require another day of class time to get
through all of it. In addition, depending on the time of year that this
unit is used and what skills have been mastered by students, you may
want to omit some pages of the packet before distributing it to
students. Without question, you should work through the problems in the
packet before handing them out, to ensure that all problems are
appropriate for your students.
- Cook, Shirley. Math in the Real World of Architecture. Nashville, TN: Incentive Publications. 1996.
- Suh, Juennifer, Patricia S. Moyer, and Donna Sterling. "Junior Architects: Designing Your Dream Clubhouse Using Measurement and Geometry." Teaching Children Mathematics, November 2003, Volume 10, Issue 3, p. 170.
The teacher’s focus during the evaluation phase should be as much on
the learning process as on the final clubhouse products. During the
project, you should use non‑traditional assessment methods such as
anecdotal notes, records from group discussions, and students’ written
responses in their architect design logs. Students have opportunities
to discuss individual and group solutions for each problem.
Articulation in class discussions and reflection on their thinking
processes reflect students’ understanding of many complex ideas. You
may use the rubric below to assess various aspects of the design of the
clubhouse project. The assessment involves students' mastery with
accuracy of measurement, construction of a three‑dimensional model,
solving problems, and writing in their design logs. The criteria for
judging the clubhouses helps students assess their own progress
throughout the project.
|Performance Tasks ||Points per Category |
|Calculations on Budgeting Worksheet|| |
|Accuracy of Measurements on Blueprint|| |
|Three-Dimensional Model|| |
|Problem-Solving Tasks|| |
|Design Log|| |
|Total Points || |
Within each category, award up to 4 points, as follows:
4 = Superior; 3 = Good; 2 = Satisfactory; and, 1 = Needs Revision. Use
the following scale to judge the overall quality of a student's
project: 18‑20 = Superior; 14‑17 = Good; 9‑13 = Satisfactory; and,
5‑8 = Needs Revision. If a 1 is scored in any category, require the
students to revise their work and re‑submit the project.
- While others finish the construction of their model clubhouse,
those who have finished can decorate theirs. The budget is set at $10
for buying items to decorate the clubhouses. The teacher can bring in
items such as buttons, straws, cellophane paper, wallpaper samples,
toothpicks, fabric swatches, and aluminum foil for students to
purchase. Students may use bright buttons for doorknobs and
decorations, the cellophane paper to create stained glass windows, the
fabric swatches to make curtains for the windows, and the aluminum foil
to make solar panels (which makes the clubhouse more gas efficient) and
satellite devices (to pick up sports channels).
- Allow students to explore geometric solids using the Geometric Solids Interactive.