Last year, I piloted an architecture choice unit with my third-grade students. One of the biggest takeaways from this experience was that my students LOVE to build things! Because of this, I’ve made more architecture and engineering activities available to them. I make a few of these items available for free choice when we near the end of a project. Below I’ve listed my students’ favorites!
- Keva Planks – Students cannot get enough of these sets. They go especially wild for the contraptions set.
- Legos – The building possibilities are endless. Providing the green flats is helpful.
- Cardboard Connectors – I made my own. These abstract sculptures get really fun and elaborate.
- Styrofoam or Plastic Cups – Give your students a 100 cup challenge! They must use all 100 cups to create an architectural masterpiece.
- Architecture Magnets – I put these on the front of my metal desk, so they are always available for early finishers and busy hands.
- Graph Paper – These are great for your budding interior designers and planners. I encourage my students to create their dream rooms from a bird’s eye view. Mazes are another favorite.
- Supplies for Paper Cubes – Students love creating and then building with these colorful cubes.
- Books about Architecture and Engineering – My two favorite books by Andrea Beaty are Iggy Peck Architect and Rosie Revere Engineer. You also can’t go wrong by making these books available to your students. Don’t forget to hit up your local library for their architecture selection.
Students will definitely gravitate toward their favorites, so you may have to come up with some sort of time allowance or set rotation. Another issue is that these architectural wonders cannot be permanent. We solved this issue by taking photos of finished projects before they were deconstructed. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but it’s a great place to get ideas for your own architectural center.
What do your students gravitate toward during free-choice?
What architecture and engineering items would you add to this list?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.