K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to answer these essential questions:
    • Why was this home built in this particular manner?
    • What was life like for this person during this period of history?
  • Students will be able to form arguments in response to this thought-provoking statement and support their answers with valid arguments:
    • People should build homes for functionality and convenience only.
  • Students will also be able to:
    • Utilize visual data
    • Draw inferences
    • Draw conclusions
    • Form opinions and support them with facts

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

One 70-minute class period

Materials/Resources

Pre-activities

  • Create packets ahead of time to make distributing materials easier and more efficient. Place a single house plan or floor plan and several copies of the “Group Findings: House Plan Analysis” worksheet in a large envelope. Repeat this procedure until you have created a packet for each group.
  • Before this activity students should have background knowledge of:
    • What is an architect?
    • How have building materials changed over time?
    • How has this affected how and why people build homes today?

Activities

Preview Activity: Comparing Personal Experience with Key Concepts

  1. Have each student sketch a floor plan of his or her home.
  2. Have the students label each room and write a quick description of each room’s purpose.
  3. Have each student list the members of his or her family (i.e. mom, dad, me, two brothers, and one sister). Ask students, did your parents have your home built or did they buy it? Do you have your own room?
  4. Ask several student volunteers to describe their homes.
  5. Ask students, how have homes changed throughout time? As students call out answers, have them hypothesize about the cause of this change.

By leading students through this questioning process, you give them conceptual information they will need to better understand how and why homes have changed over time.

Main activity: Social studies skill builder

  1. Explain to students they will work in pairs or groups of three to gather information about several homes built in North Carolina in different time periods to hypothesize about the culture of the area during the time the home was built.
  2. Using the house plans, their textbooks, and each other, they are to complete the “Group Findings: House Plan Analysis” worksheet for each plan they examine. (Note: the worksheet can be modified to fit your students’ needs.)
  3. Place students in pairs or groups of three, depending on class size.
  4. Give each group a packet of materials and five to eight minutes to analyze and gather information. Observe students to see if they need more time to complete this step.
  5. Tell students to pass their plan to the group to their right, while taking the plan from the group to their left. This way, students get to analyze more than one plan, and teachers do not have to make multiple copies. Repeat this procedure until students have analyzed all or most of the plans, and then end the activity.
  6. Pull the class back together to debrief the activity. Have each group share their inferences about one plan they analyzed. Did other groups make the same inferences? If they made different ones, what evidence caused them to make these inferences? What do homes tell us about the culture of the area in which they were built? How can historians use this information?
  7. To conclude the lesson, the author recommends using one of the following activities, which allow students to express themselves creatively while demonstrating what they have learned during the unit:
    • Draw your home in a different time period: Draw your home as you think it would have looked during any decade from the 19th century (1800s). Make sure the completed drawing includes the following items, which can be used to create a rubric:
      • Your name, title of the plans, date of the time period your home would have been built, and scale (use ½” = 1′)
      • Plan details: each floor and room is clearly labeled
      • Neatness/appearance: the plan is neat and easy to read
      • On the back of the drawing or on a separate piece of paper, write to to three paragraphs describing at least three similarities and three differences between your 1800s home and your home today. Be sure to explain how the culture of each time affected how your home was built (i.e. number of bedrooms, fireplaces, bathroom inside or outside, etc.)
      • Free of errors that confuse or interrupt the reader
    • Future Home Plan: Design the “dream home” you hope to build or own when you have a family of your own. Project what you think your life and our society will be like in 20 years. Make sure the completed drawing includes the following items, which can be used to create a rubric:
      • Your name, title of the plans, date of the time period your home would have been built, and scale (use ½” = 1′)
      • Plan details: each floor and room is clearly labeled.
      • Neatness/appearance: the plan is neat and easy to read
      • On the back of the drawing or on a separate piece of paper, write two to three paragraphs describing how your dream home will meet the needs of your family (Consider: do you have an office in your home? How many children do you have or hope to have?). Be sure to explain how the culture of the future affected how your home was built.
      • Free of errors that confuse or interrupt the reader