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Creating a Two-Dimensional Blueprint

Jennifer Suh
Stone Ridge, VA

In this lesson, students draw a two-dimensional blueprint of their clubhouse using graph paper.

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 1 foot.)

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:

  1. The ceilings are no higher than 10 feet.
  2. The total perimeter cannot exceed 48 feet.
  3. The clubhouse should be no larger than 150 square feet.
  4. The clubhouse may be any shape.
  5. Doors and windows must be at least 1 foot apart. Doors should be wide enough that furniture will fit through.
  6. All walls, doors and windows must be drawn with a 90° angle, perpendicular to the floor.
  7. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Have students decide on common architectural symbols and make a class legend.
  3. 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.

2179 pet house

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.

  • Graph Paper
  • Architectural Blueprints
  • Maps (or other example of scaled drawings)

Assessment Options

  1. Allow students to add another entry to their design logs.
  2. Determine whether the student’s blueprint meets the specified architectural criteria.


  1. Have students create a scale drawing of their bedrooms at home with the furniture drawn to scale.
  2. Move on to the last lesson, Constructing a Three-Dimensional Model.

Questions for Students 

  1. Why do architects use scale drawings?
  2. What was the most challenging aspect of this lesson?
  3. Does the size of your clubhouse make sense? What about the placement of items within your clubhouse? Explain why or why not.

Teacher Reflection 

  • Did students understand the idea of scale drawings? Did the teacher relate the importance of scale drawings by relating it to blueprints for homes and maps?
  • How did the students demonstrate understanding of the materials presented?
  • Were concepts presented too abstractly? Too concretely? How would you change them?
  • What were some of the ways that the students illustrated that they were actively engaged in the learning process?
Unit Icon

Junior Architects


Learn the major concepts such as using basic linear measurement, understanding and creating scale representations, and exploring perimeter and area measurement. 


Getting to Know the Shapes

In this lesson, students discover the uses of geometry and measurement in the world of architecture as they are introduced to the clubhouse project.
FindingPerimeterAndArea ICON

Finding Perimeter and Area

In this lesson, students develop strategies for finding the perimeter and area for rectangles and triangles using geoboards and graph paper. Students learn to appreciate how measurement is a critical component to planning their clubhouse design.

Constructing a Three-Dimensional Model

In this lesson, students build a three‑dimensional model from their two‑dimensional blueprint. In addition, they solve problems related to constructing and decorating their clubhouse.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Create a two-dimensional blueprint of their clubhouse on graph paper.

NCTM Standards and Expectations

  • Classify two- and three-dimensional shapes according to their properties and develop definitions of classes of shapes such as triangles and pyramids.
  • Identify and draw a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional object.