Houses -- they're the places where we live, the buildings that line our streets and the pieces of architecture that students of all ages can study. While it's likely that your students know what a house is by the time that they get to kindergarten, activities that teach students about the finer points, such as architecture or cultural context, can broaden their views and help them to understand the intersection of form and function.
Art and Architecture
Houses may seem everyday or commonplace to kindergarten kids, but they are actually complex pieces of architecture. Even 5- or 6-year-old students are capable of understanding the basics. Houses provide a familiar way to step into this artistic -- and engineering -- field. Start with the basics and have your students draw a crayon "blueprint" by using blue writing tools and white paper. Make it simple and break down the house's architecture into shapes such as a triangle roof and rectangle door. Build the houses that the children design using wooden blocks, cardboard boxes or styrofoam pieces.
Explore houses, building materials and places where people live through the lens of literacy and language lessons. Start with a simple, well-known story that relates houses and their functions. For example, the Ohio Department of Education suggests reading "The Three Little Pigs" to start off a lesson on houses. Discuss the different types of houses in the story and ask the students why they think that the brick structure stood tall. Other books to try include "Houses and Homes" by Ann Morris or "My House Has Stars" by Megan McDonald.
Making Math Work
Without math, engineers couldn't successfully construct anything at all. Teach your kindergarten class about the connection between math and houses with a geometry lesson. Provide your students with posters, pictures or photos of houses. Ask the students to find shapes, such as the square in the house's window or the rectangle of its chimney. If it's possible, you can take the learning to the real world and go on a field trip around town to look at houses, or your class can just glance out the window. Have the students pick out the shapes that they see in the neighborhood's homes.
Use a house theme to connect your young learners to social studies content on different cultures and diversity. Take a virtual trip around the world and look at photos of houses in other countries online or look in books such as "Houses Around the World" by Yoshio Komatsu. This is an excellent way to show your class the traditional homes of people in different cultures, such as the Mongolian yurt or an Inuit igloo.
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