Doghouses, Doors & Design
By CooperHewitt National Design Museum, September 21, 2006
Grade Level
 Elementary School
Category
 Architecture
Subject Area
 Language Arts
 Mathematics
 Technology
Lesson Time
One fiftyminute class period, one homework assignment
Introduction
In this activity, students will engage in active problem solving as they create a design for a doghouse. They will work in collaborative groups, explore numerical problems, and explain the strategies they used to solve design problems.
National Standards
Mathematics
Standard 1. Level I. Uses a variety of strategies in the problemsolving process
1. Draws pictures to represent problems
2. Uses discussions with teachers and other students to understand problems
3. Explains to others how she or he went about solving a numerical problem
Standard 2. Level I. Understands and applies basic and advanced properties of the concepts of numbers
3. Understands symbolic, concrete, and pictorial representations of numbers (e.g., written numerals, objects in sets, number lines)
Language Arts" Listening and Speaking
Level I: Standard 8. Level I. Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes
1. Makes contributions in class and group discussions (e.g., reports on ideas and personal knowledge about a topic, initiates conversations, connects ideas and experiences with those of others)
2. Asks and responds to questions (e.g., about the meaning of a story, about the meaning of words or ideas)
Objectives
Students will do the following:
 use varied strategies to solve a design problem involving numbers
 explain their strategies to an audience
Resources
 Doghouses (Google image search)

"Pet House Design" handout
Materials
 computer with Internet access
Procedures
Building Background Door Adventures & Observations
The purpose of this activity is to increase students' awareness of design variations in common objects in their environment. 1. Ask the students to discuss the following prompts: Why do rooms have doors?
 What are doors made of?
 How many kinds of doors can you think of?
Steps for Learning Pet House Design
1. Show the students three pictures of floor plans at the following links, and ask them to locate the doors in each: 2. Divide the class into small groups and give each group a copy of the "Pet House Design" handout. Read the assignment aloud with your students and clarify any questions. Tell the students that they are using the steps of the design process to solve a problem. 3. Provide time for the students to share their work. Ask the students to explain their design to their classmates. Encourage the students to ask questions about the different designs, and how they generated ideas to solve their design task. Talk about how different students solved the doghouse design problem in different ways, and how there are many ways to solve problems.Assessment
Reflection
Teacher Note: You may wish to complete the reflection component with your students.Rate your doghouse design.
Excellent Good Adequate Poor
Rate your creativity.
Excellent Good Adequate Poor
Rate how well you explained your thinking to your classmates.
Excellent Good Adequate Poor
Rate how well you shared your ideas with your classmates.
Excellent Good Adequate Poor
Enrichment Extension Activities
Activity One: Create a Floor plan
Ask your students to draw a floor plan fora bedroom or living room. Have them use the resource at http://www.mathkitecture.com/ . This is an excellent activity for students to work on at home.
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