Third grade students are "waking up" to the world around them. One aspect of this consciousness is noticing fundamental overarching natural elements. I've found that one idea they really get excited about is form follows function. This idea is presented at the most basic level. A great example is to consider tableware. Both a fork, and a spoon, are used to move food from the plate (let's hope) to the mouth. How does their form determine what function they serve in this process?
I use this example to open a discussion with students a few of the possible links between form and function in architecture using these examples: Great Buildings - Form and Function.
While students are working today, they are to keep in mind how the polygons and 3 dimensional solids they use reflect the purpose of the great building they are creating.
Prior to the math portion of this lesson, students write answers to the questions about the purpose, design, and meaning behind their planned great building. Their thinking is guided by Creating My Own Great Building -Thinking it Through.
This can be done as a combined oral and written language exercise and it takes approximately 45 minutes for them to brainstorm, write and share their answers.
Then students use Creating My Own Great Building - Directions to guide them through the steps of the actual building construction. There are intentional constraints on the building sides in order to insure that they do not create a situation in which building the roof is too difficult. After they complete their first building many of them go on to create additional structures as a free math choice/home study assignment.
Students share the specifics of some piece of this work which they feel is successful, something with which they engaged in productive struggle, or something they learned. They stand in front of the class and speak in complete sentences with specific vocabulary.