Use Google Drive for a Great Shapes and Building Activity!

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SWBAT find simple mathematical patterns in architecture and examine the ways in which different 2D shapes and 3D solids interact with one another to create new polygons and 3 dimensional solids.

Big Idea

Learning the names and attributes of polygons while looking at buildings of the world will make them unforgettable!


5 minutes

I review key vocabulary again with the students. There are sorts of ways to practice vocabulary, including interactive computer sites. Here are a few sites that work well for this:

Shape Sort by Characteristics


*Note - this is not in American English (it's the City of Birmingham, England), so a few of the words are not the same as ours. For example, cornet instead of cone.

Active Engagement

45 minutes

During this section of the lesson, students continue to find shapes within the architecture of great buildings around the world and also some beautiful but more ordinary homes.  If you choose to have students do this in Google Draw, they or you will need to take the following steps:

1.Open the word doc.

2. Right click to save an image as a jpg or png

3. Student opens their Google Drive and creates a new drawing.

4. Insert the image that was just saved to the desktop.

5. Rename Google Drawing (example SIAEmilyAlcanzar)

6. Erase jpg or png off desktop!

Another option is to print out photos in black and white and students use a ruler and colored pencils to find the shapes.  It often works well to do a combination of these two activities.

If students need photos in addition to the 40 that were in yesterday's activity, Shapes in Architecture Day 1, there are 22 additional images in this document:  Shapes in Architecture: Day 2 Additional Images

If students work out of a Google Drawing, then a "shapes only" document can be created.  I strongly suggest teacher supervision.  It is easy to erase the original file.  To make the shapes only copy:

1. Students saves a copy of their photo on which they have superimposed the shapes.

2. Click to highlight the background photo.  Delete it.

The building "skeletons" left over after the building has been deleted can then by labeled.  They are quite interesting looking!




Open House

10 minutes

1/2 of the class stays with their computers or drawing and the other half rotates around the room to view their classmates' work.  The student who remains at the station is expected to explain what polygons they see in their drawing and where they see them.  Then they need to explain any patterns they see, either mathematical or aesthetic, and anything else they wish to add.  The explanation can be brief but they need to speak in complete sentences and use mathematical terminology.  

A Sentence Stems Guide is provide as a resource for ELL learners and any other students who need the support.