In this unit students will be exploring architecture! Students will explore various examples of architecture with the focus remaining on their own ideal/dream home. Students will take on the role of those who create architecture, such as architects, the firms they work for, project managers and urban planners. Through this process students will design their own dream home, build their homes then combine their homes to create a city. The main focus of the unit is Transformation. How does an architect transform a two-dimensional drawing into a three-dimensional structure? How does an urban planner transform a design into a city?
Lesson One: “My Dream Home” Students will look through images of homes which feature interesting architectural designs. We want students to think about which designs they are draw to and what features that can use as inspiration in their own dream home design. What’s the first thing you notice? Does it look like a home? What kind of home is this? Who might live here? How can you tell? What do you think about the colors? We also wanted want students to think about where their dream home might be located? Where is this home? Why is it there? Does the house fit into the environment? After looking at and discussing the images the students will be given a new sketchbook to draw their dream home in.
Lesson Two: “Planning like an Architect” Students will reference their dream home designs and make revisions by creating Plexiglas prints. Students will begin by looking at and discussing more images of interesting architecture. What makes this home unique? Why might the architect have built this? Students will then think about the work designs that their peers have made and draw further inspiration for their own revisions. Students will then draw their homes again, adding elements or changing features, on Plexiglas to create a print of their new design.
Lesson Three, Part One: “Architects Build” Students will use clay to translate their two-dimensional designs into a three-dimensional structure. Students will begin by forming the foundation of their home, then work their way up creating the walls, windows and doors before finally adding the roof. Students will use clay and clay tools to build each part of their dream home design. Students will need to consider structural support as well as the parts of their home that they might not have draw in their design such as the back or interior of their home.
Lesson Three, Part Two: “Architects Build” Students will use a cardboard platform, found objects, paint, drawing tools, and glue to create the environment around their dream home. Students will begin by considering where their home is and what’s around it. Is your home underwater? Is there another house near my in a neighborhood? Is there grass and tress around your home? Students will begin by redrawing their home, focusing on where their home is and what surrounds it. Once students have completed their new drawing they will begin creating their environment. Students will use found objects, paint, drawing tools, and glue to create the environment around their home. Students will then receive their clay homes once they have been fired and they will use paint to decorate their homes. Finally, students will add their dream home to their environment to create their completed diorama.
Lesson Four: “Let’s Build a City” Students will collaborate to combine all their dioramas into a city. Students will begin by exploring urban planning and necessary elements a city needs to function. Students will work in teams to determine what structures they would like to build to add to their city, such as a school, city hall, park, etc. Students will then work to create the structures they chose to add to their city. Students will then evaluate what they have built as a class and determine anything that their city still needs to make it great. Each student will build at least one structure to add to the class city using cardboard, found objects, glue, tape and paint. Students will then collaborate to name and plan where everything they have built will go in their city using a large grid.
To see photos and detailed documentation of this unit follow the link below:
Relevance of the Topic to Content Standards and Within Curricular Sequence:
Significance of Topic:
Globally: Our unit “Build Your Own City” allowed students to create multiple pieces by transforming materials. Transformation was the focusing lens that students used in multiple ways throughout the unit. Students considered how to transform two-dimensional designs into three-dimensional models as well as how they could transform materials to suit their needs. The lens of transformation also allowed students to make multiple interpretations and revisions of their artwork allowing them to see multiple possibilities for the assignment. This unit also allowed for students to collaborate on multiple levels, students worked presented their work and gave feedback to their peers while creating and they also collaborated to combine their individual homes into a city.
Personally: When my partner and I began to think about a central topic to our lessons we became very excited about the idea of architecture. Not only is architecture an interesting form of art allowing us to show the students many examples of what could be accomplished but it also allowed us to examine other aspects of art such as location, relevance and function. The topic of architecture also allowed for students to make a personal connection to create their dream home. Students were able to explore how they could make their artwork unique to them in both aesthetic and function. For this Population: Architecture was a good choice for this age group because they can use personal experience to make a connection with the topic. When students have a personal connection to the topic in their lessons then they are able to engage and be passionate about their artwork. Students were able to consider their own home and what functions were important to them. The topic allowed students to explore multiple aspects of architecture and gave them room to explore and remain engaged for multiple lessons.