Architecture: A Mini Unit

Unit studies are a good method of exploring different career options. This mini unit investigates architecture in general and some activities a career in architecture encompass.

1. Plan and take a walk in your community to find examples of beauty in man-made objects, such as buildings, statues, fountains, and fences. Make a list. Also identify the objects or areas that are unattractive. Tell why you feel some are beautiful and some are not. Compare notes with others. Check those you think are works of art. Take photographs or make drawings of several of the items checked. Prepare a map to show someone else the route of your work and where you selected works of art are located.

2. Design a learning environment that you would like to use. Before you plan your special area, ask yourself some of these questions:
-- Would it be a plastic bubble floating on a lake, an outdoor area in the woods with a zoo in the middle?
-- How would you enter your area by a bridge, a rope, a tunnel, etc.?
-- What kinds of rooms and sections would your area have garden, music and art rooms, kitchen, many small learning areas or a few large work areas?

3. Consider how to save energy and how your learning space will fit in with other buildings around it. Draw it to scale on graph paper or make a model of your area with simple, inexpensive materials.

4. Design a house of the furniture. Decide where it will be floating in space, on a planet, at a space station, under the ocean, etc. Draw the house to scale on graph paper or create a model of it and a plan for the transportation to get to it.

5. Design a garden perhaps a kids-only garden, a medieval garden, a storybook garden, or a garden that might be in another country. Make a space plan for your garden. Think about what will go into your garden kinds of flowers and/or trees, sculptures, walkways, waterfalls or fountains, places to sit. Plan the entrance and center of your garden. When plans are complete, draw it to scale on graph paper.

6. Design a neighborhood zoo. First, decide what animals will live in your zoo. Cut out or draw pictures of the animals. Find out what each animals easts and what else it needs to keep happy and healthy. Plan spaces for the animals, buildings, walls, pathways, plantings, water, and fun places for animals and how visitors will see the animals.

7. Create a plan for your community based on your list from activity #1. Include things other than buildings that would make your community more beautiful as well as better place to live, work, and play. Make certain the space you design can be used by people with disabilities. Make a drawing or model of your plan and explain why it would be appropriate.

8. Find out in what ways the following careers contribute to the beauty of buildings, parks, and towns: architect, landscape architect, sculptor, designer, urban planner.

9. Create an exhibit of pictures or actual samples of building materials and a drawing or picture of a building made from these materials. Explain why the material is right for each building shown.

10. Learn how to create floor plans to scale. Measure a room and furnishings in it. Draw the room and the furniture to scale on graph paper, indicate the scale (for example, 1 inch = 1 foot).

11. Using what you have learned in other activities, plan, design, and construct with actual building materials and supplies a small structure, such as a dollhouse, bird feeder, or pet house.

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