math, project, scale

Build a 3-D City – a math project for scale, area, and perimeter

This week we started our much anticipated week-long project with the goal of designing and building a 3-d city.  I searched the internet for plans to modify but did not come across any, so please feel free to use or modify this as you see fit.

In Everyday Math, unit 8 in 4th grade is all about area and perimeter.  The unit is very short and I therefore saw a need for concrete practice with calculations.  My husband, who happens to be a house designer and builder, agreed to co-teach this with me.

Length of project: 5 days

Materials used: 

Advance preparation:

  • We wrapped the plywood in gray paper for roads and drew in all of the lots and roads.  (We placed the wrapped plywood in the classroom a day in advance to build anticipation, it was great fun!)
  • Copies for each person as needed
  • Poster hung for Building Process
  • Lottery lot numbers made and cut out, one for each student to draw.  I worte on them lot # and what type of building.

Requirements:

  • Scale decided upon: 10 feet = 1 inch
  • Height of each story = 10 feet
  • There must be 10% green space left on lot
  • Single family homes must have at least 20% garage of house square footage
  • Shopping malls etc. must have 40% of square footage be parking

Day 1:

  • My husband used this presentation to reveal what the project would be, the video was stopped when “Kelly” was introduced.
  • Then he showed a slide show of different types of houses to show the students what houses could look like, again sparking that creativity.
  • We would stop and let kids get excited with each other for a couple of minutes.  
  • We made a list of math we would need to use: Scale, area, perimeter, fractions, decimals, percentages.  There may even be more, only time will tell.
  • Then time to sketch.  Some students work in teams (if they are designing/building a large building) while others work by themselves.  This is their time to try out several ideas that will fit with their requirements.
  • The rest of the class time was used on sketching, answering questions and just checking in with students.

Day 2:

  • Start out by answering any questions students may have.
  • Discuss math conversions needed by using this prezi
  • I would also sketch out at some point what it means to draw a detailed dimension plan.
  • Meet with students to see if they have everything figured out and give them architectural approval.

    Days 3-5:

    • Students design, draw, and meet to get their building permits.  
    • The process is as follows: Concept design, architectural control, permit checklist, detailed plans, building permit, build your house.
    • This is where the support will happen as students try to do the math needed for the project.
    • Obviously different levels of support are needed for this for each student, modify as you go.

    Coming soon: pictures, video and progress reports.

    1 thought on “Build a 3-D City – a math project for scale, area, and perimeter”

    1. Pernille,Not only does this look like an incredible learning project, but it also sounds like a lot of fun. I want to play, I mean build!I'm adding this idea to my math notebook, and maybe we will do a similar project when we get to our unit on measurement. Happy Building,Erin

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

    Google photo

    You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s