• fine motor
• social studies
• oak tag paper
• pencils and colored pencils
• clipboards for each child (Make simple clipboards from cardboard with paper clipped onto it.)
Buildings in Our Neighborhood. Take children on a walk to observe the different buildings in the neighborhood. Bring along a camera to photograph the different buildings they see. Offer some geometric paper shapes to hold during the walk so that children can make the connection between these simple forms and the more complex structures they are observing. Engage children in a discussion to identify the different geometric shapes and patterns that they see in the buildings.
Observational Drawings. Take another walk to do observational drawings of buildings. Give each child a clipboard, a pencil, and some drawing paper. If possible, find a few buildings for them to draw that differ in size, shape, or aesthetic details. Encourage them to notice the different geometric shapes that compose each building. Bring the group together to share and discuss their drawings.
Constructing Buildings. Invite children to use wooden blocks to recreate the buildings they drew. Have their drawings on hand to use as a guide while they build. Once again, encourage them to notice the different shapes in their construction and to find the blocks that match the shapes. Take the class on a “tour” of the completed buildings.
Photograph Display. Take a photo of each of the children holding up their drawings beside their block buildings. Create a wall display in the block area that includes observational drawings, photographs, and children’s written descriptions of their buildings to document their study.
Remember: The neighborhood walks can be done in small groups to allow more discussion and interaction.
Lesson ExtensionsTake-Home Activity
Survey of Family Homes. Send home a survey where parents can check off the type of home they grew up in, such as an apartment, a house, or another type of building. Bring children together to share their surveys and make a graph to summarize their findings.
Curriculum Connection: SOCIAL STUDIES
Types of Buildings. Create a list of all of the different types of buildings in the neighborhood. Leave space to add comments between each type. Engage children in a discussion about the different functions of each building and how they vary in size and shape. Record their comments, then help them develop a summary about what they’ve learned.
Cubes, Cones, Cylinders, & Spheres
by Tana Hoban
(Greenwillow Books, 2000; $17)
My First Jumbo Book of Shapes
by James Diaz
(Scholastic, 2004; $10)
Shapes in My House
by Kristin Eck
(Rosen/Powerstart Press, 2004; $11)