Prove them wrong!

By Cathy Fox, December 21, 2008

Grade Level

  • High School


  • Design for the Other 90%

Subject Area

  • Mathematics

Lesson Time

2 55 minute class periods


Ever want to change the way people stereotype teenagers? Many adults think that teenagers are all concerned with one thing, appearance. Well, this is your chance to prove them wrong! You are going to design a room for our school that is both pleasing to the eye as well as completely functional. It is going to be your job to decide exactly what type of room this needs to be. (Some ideas: daycare (students and/or teachers?), resource room for student projects, display room for student projects, tutoring center, new gymnasium, etc.) Remember, the idea is going to be to design an addition to our school that will be both practical and key to the success of our school.

National Standards

  ·         Understands procedures for basic indirect measurements (e.g., using grids to estimate area of irregular figures) ·         Understands the relationships among linear dimensions, area, and volume and the corresponding uses of units, square units, and cubic units of measure ·         Calculates the perimeter and area of irregular figures ·         Uses inductive and deductive reasoning to make observations about and to verify properties of and relationships among figures (e.g., the relationship among interior angles of parallel lines cut by a transversal)

Common Core Standards

Key Ideas and Details:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:


Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.


Anchor Standards for Writing:


Text Types and Purposes:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

Production and Distribution of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Range of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening:

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Anchor standards for Language:

Conventions of Standard English:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.


·         Students will understand blueprints/design layouts ·         Students will calculate area of various types of shapes ·         Students will understand budgets and costs of specific items, including tax, shipping costs, etc.


  • laptop cart (internet resources for "shopping")-1 laptop per student
  • various internet sites for students to purchase items from-i.e. furniture stores, electronics, etc.


  • rulers
  • graph paper
  • colored pencils, markers


  • dimensions-length, width
  • area
  • perimeter
  • budget
  • item cost
  • shipping cost
  • taxes


  1. 1. Students will discuss in groups the many activities that go on in our building throughout a typical school day. This may include both academics and extracurricular activities. Each student will need to identify 3 possible additions that could be added to our school that would be beneficial to the school’s function.  Students will need to identify the group it will be helping and what will be added (i.e. basketball team-new gymnasium to hold practices in, mock trial team-a courtroom set up in a classroom for practices,  entire student body-central location for projects to be put together, including materials, internet access, etc)
  2. 2. Once students have identified these three additions, they will research both cost and availability of materials using the laptops. Students will investigate the materials and resources for their three options and decide which one they would like to focus on for this project.
  3. 3. Students will compile a list of all items/resources that will be needed to complete their design and their cost for each. They will include, where appropriate, shipping costs and taxes. Students will then sketch a rough draft of the items and locations of their new room they will propose be added to our school.  Each student will have a brief session with teacher to be sure student is stressing functionality with their design.
  4. 4. Once students have their sketches down on paper, they will go back to their group and get feedback from other group members. Do they think it is a good idea? Are there any suggestions, anything they think may be missing?
  1. 5. After students have gotten feedback from their classmates, they will begin to put together the physical model. This can be done in many ways, such as computer generated blueprint, 3-dimensional model, power point presentation, etc. Students will need to compile a list of the items they are placing in their room and the dimensions of each. Also, depending on the shape of each item, they will either use the direct formula or multiple formulas to calculate the area and perimeter of each object.  BEFORE the calculations are done, students will be asked to come up with estimated values for area and perimeter and they will compare these to their calculated values.  (Estimation skills are one of our school’s weaknesses on standardized testing!)
  2. 6. Students will briefly present their designs to the class and discuss their rational for their choice.
  3. 7. (optional) Students who do an exceptional job on their designs will work independently with teacher to come up with a formal proposal to submit to club and/or administration.


  • final product and brief presentation to class
  • correctness of area calculations
  • student stayed at or under budget with items purchased
  • students completed accurate layouts (i.e. the items chosen fit with the dimensions of the bedroom)
  • verbal conversations about rationale of items placed in room

Enrichment Extension Activities

  • Students may use Google Sketchup to create a more technical blueprint using the items they chose to place in their room
  • students can produce multiple layouts using their items and have classmates vote on which way would be the best (visually appealing, functionality, etc.)
  1. The start of Day 2 has students estimating spacing and volume before calculating. This is an essential skill that is lacking with some of my own students, as well. I might offer a prize for the group whose estimate were close to the actual calculations. As an extension to the lesson, the teacher might provide a budget for the project to be implemented to take to administration.

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