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Monday, April 21, 2014

Teach Students About Architecture and Building With This Free Guide from the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage has some neat resources for teachers and students. One of the resources that I've recently downloaded is the Masters of the Building Arts Activity Guide.

The Masters of the Building Arts Activity Guide provides the history of six types of buildings and architectural features. At the conclusion of each section there is a hands-on activity for students to try in your classroom. For example at the end of the section on timber framing you will find directions for an activity in which students attempt to create a model building with straws or pipe cleaners. At the end of the section on stained glass students can try to create their own "stained glass" panels with tissue papers, ribbons, and glue.

Applications for Education
Masters of the Building Arts Activity Guide provides a nice history of building styles and architectural features that students may see on a regular basis. To extend the activities have your students look in their communities for examples of the buildings and architectural features that they read about in the guide. The text of the guide and the activities are appropriate for elementary school (grades 3-5) students. At that level you may consider incorporating some basic geometry principles at are present in the buildings and architectural features highlighted in the activity guide.