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.

    math, review

    Math Obstacle Course

    The point has been reached in my 4th grade EDM curriculum where the kids start to really spread out as far as their abilities.  I knew I needed a review day but did not want to start at the whiteboard droning on.  Enter the math obstacle course!

    The idea was simple: 5 different obstacles or stations, 3 volunteers, self-paced kids and a final project.  The five stations were:

    1. Rounding numbers
    2. Multi-digit multiplication
    3. Long division
    4. Build a Buck (adding and subtracting decimals)
    5. Fraction of Game

    I recruited one fabulous parent volunteer to run the long-division station, had my fantastic special ed. teacher teach a different way of doing rounding, and then had the incredible ELL teacher teach at the multiplication station.  I ran the game stations and did various check-ins.

    The students were told they had to complete all 5 obstacles before they could get to the final station; Build your Dream House using pattern blocks (they had to label them, so that was review all the way back to the 1st unit of the year).  They decided where they went, and then set their own pace.  Kid could get re-taught certain concepts if they needed it or they could choose to do the challenge questions right away and see if they completed the obstacle right away.
    I drew a map of the obstacles on the board, explained the concepts, and off they went.  They loved it!  It was a bit of organized chaos, but the connections I was able to share with kids and witness them make just floored me.  All students completed all 5 obstacles, even those who needed some extra review, and they loved the creative final project.  Many of the students were eager to share their dream houses and all brought them home.  
    I will definitely be doing this type of review again and could recruit more volunteers if needed.  To see the challenge questions and course card, click here for English version and here for Spanish version.