Tuesday, March 8, 2011

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.
  • 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.


    Magical Ms. M said...

    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,

    Mr. V said...

    This is exactly what I am looking for! It truly sounds/looks like an amazing project! I am definitely adding this as a hands on creative way to have my students explore mathematics with some modifications. Thank you very much for sharing!

    Gina Dickman said...

    Thank you so much for your work!! My students are very excited to try this project and I am very thankful that I do not have to start from scratch. Thank you, Thank you!

    Mark Cris Aboga said...

    Hello, just want to say thank you for sharing. This going to be a big help for my little math enrichment center here in the Philippines. I'm planning to do some math applications for my students this summer and this is going to be a perfect activity. Again,a thank you.

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