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Weekend Website #73: 3 Programs to Teach Architecture in First Grade

Posted by on November 4, 2011

Every Friday I’ll send you a wonderful website that my classes and my parents love. I think you’ll find they’ll be a favorite of your students as they are of mine.


1st Grade


Architecture, structures


Three projects over six weeks and your students will learn about blueprints, room layout, dimensions. Plus, they’ll understand how to think about a three-dimensional object and then spatially lay it out on paper. This is challenging, but fun for first graders.

Spend two weeks on each projects. Incorporate a discussion of spaces, neighborhoods, communities one week. Practice the drawing, then do the final project which students can save and print. Kids will love this unit.

  • First, draw a picture in KidPix of the child’s home using the KidPix architecture tools (use TuxPaint if you don’t have KidPix–it’s free). Have kids think about their house, walk through it. They’ll have to think in three dimensions and will soon realize they can’t draw a two-story house. In that case, allow them to pick which rooms they wish to include and concentrate on what’s in the room. Use the ‘stamps’ tool (in KidPix) to find items.
first grade

Classroom layout–through the eyes of a First Grader

  • Second, visit Classroom Architect and design your classroom with drag-and-drop pieces. I did a sample first, drawing suggestions from the entire class to come up with the layout. Students had to think about where tables and storage was relative to other items. This became a good lesson in visual thinking. After I drew the sample on the class monitor, all students developed their own.

Classroom layout–using drag-and-drop items

  • Third, build a virtual neighborhood with Mr. Rogers
first grad

Internet-based layout of a neighborhood

By the time students have finished this three-week unit, they’ll possess the rudiments of room design.

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

updated 5-13-16

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