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Animal Architecture Lesson Plan

Animal Architecture Lesson Plan

Grade 4 Lesson Plan
CONCEPT GOALS: Architecture is the planning and design of buildings and structures. An Architect is a person who designs buildings. The Exterior means the outside of a building. The Interior means the inside of a building. The kind of drawings an architect makes of a building are called Blueprints. A client is a customer. An ELEVATION is a drawing an architect does of the exterior of a building. A FLOOR PLAN is a drawing an architect does of an interior of a building. SCALE means comparative size.

Students will demonstrate technical skill by creating an art product that uses common materials and tools from different subject areas (e.g., ruler)

Students will describe how visual art is used in their communities and the world around them and provide examples.

Students will recognize and identify a range of careers in visual art (e.g., architect)

VOCABULARY: Architecture, Architect, Exterior, Interior, Blueprint, Client. Elevation, Floor plan, scale.

MOTIVATION: (week 1) Students are asked to imagine that there is an empty lot down the street from their house, and one day when they get off the school bus there is a huge construction fence around the lot, blocking their view of the property. But there is a lot of noise and diesel fumes coming from behind the fence, and equipment trailers parked on the street, so one might imagine there is some big equipment back there doing some excavating. (A construction fence keeps people from going into a construction area and getting hurt, or stealing stuff.)

This continues …. imagine that cement trucks come next, and more building supplies, etc, with all the noises and sounds of construction… Flatbeds of landscaping materials (trees, sod) [embellish story as necessary] until one day, you come home and…

The fence is down! But this is no normal house! It turns out this house has been custom built for a very wealthy (hold up picture of animal) Giraffe/Lion/Elephant!!! What would this animal need and want to make him/her feel at home?

Your job as an architect is to design a dwelling that your “Client” [non-human animal] is going to love! Different architects specialize in different kinds of clients but don’t usually get to choose their clients, or customers. Usually, they do the best drawings they can, submit them, and hope they are picked. So neatness really counts when you are an architect. Think of what your animal would like for playing, eating, sleeping. Does he like to live underground? In a tree up high? In the water? How can your house be build so that your client will really love the design?

PROCEDURE: (week 1) Motivate students, then explain and demonstrate the difference between an elevation and a floor plan on the white board. Next show how we will be doing a “cut-away” view or a combo view of the interior of the house, sort of an elevation, but with a transparent wall, almost like a dollhouse from the back. Demonstrate, at a table with the students gathered around, how to LIGHTLY sketch the outline of the exterior of the house, then the interior floors (from the side view) or tunnels if underground. Demonstrate using a ruler while sketching to make straight lines.

Direct students to CAREFULLY browse animal visuals if needed, and distribute paper. Encourage neat work and light sketching.

CLEAN UP: Student work is stored in folders and students assist in properly sorting and storing animal visuals in proper folders.

MATERIALS: (Week 1)Assorted animal visuals, good quality 12”x18” white drawing paper, Pencils, erasers, rulers, (week 2-4)also: fine line crayola markers, extra fine sharpies, colored pencils, crayons. Lined writing paper, masking tape.

PROCEDURE: (week 2) Review concept goals. Demo sketching and LABELING ROOMS with light pencil underscore. Students continue sketching, then (DEMO) begin tracing over with fine line crayola marker or fine line black sharpie pens. Ball point pens can be used for extra fine details. Then pencil lines can be carefully erased. Teacher assists with spelling names of rooms on white board.

ANIMAL MUST BE DRAWN SOMEWHERE IN THE HOUSE for scale, and THE HOUSE and rooms MUST BE LABELED! What kind of house is it? Also important: The student’s name and class code must be on the back in pencil.

Don’t forget to include landscaping on the outside of the house! Trees, grass, sky! The whole page must be filled.

Student work continues to be stored in individual folders.

PROCEDURE: (week 3-4) Review concept goals. Demo continuing outlining, then (DEMO) begin neatly coloring in areas using colored pencil for small areas and crayon for larger areas.

As students finish, they then complete the following writing prompt on ½ sheets lined paper:


Animal Architecture

I designed this house for a ____________. This ___________’s house features a __________, a ________, and a

_____________. I think my client will especially enjoy the ___________________.

This creates a label that is then affixed to the back of the paper with tape so that it shows on the front.

Artworks are saved for display.


Sculpey Animal Sculpture Students are to create a sculpture of THE ANIMAL THEY DID THE HOUSE FOR!!!

CONCEPT GOALS: A sculpture is a Three Dimensional artwork (meaning: it can be measured in more than two measurements) Review Concept goals for “Animal Architecture”. Form is 3D shape.

VOCABULARY: Sculpture, form, shape.

PROCEDURE: (week 1) Students are shown the basics of creating a sculpey animal; forming and shaping the material. Sculpey is great because it will not dry out in between and hold a great deal of detail. Students make sure they put their initials on with a pointy object, such as a toothpick.

PROCEDURE: (week 2) Students finish forming their animal, and begin adding texture. Pieces should be baked promptly.

See notes (below) about hardening, or baking, sculpey modeling material.

MATERIALS: (week 1) About ½ brick of sculpey per student, baking sheets, modeling tools, paper placemats, cookie sheets. (week 2) above plus: texturing tools, (week 3-4) Newspaper placemats, assorted acrylic paints, ¼” and smaller bristle brushes, plastic spoons, plastic containers with lids (for paint), paint shirts for students, water source, soapy water clean up, spray bottle, plastic wrap (to preserve paint) mixing palettes (Styrofoam trays work well).

PREP AHEAD: Set teaspoonfuls of acrylic paint into palettes so that students can easily pick it up. Spray with water to keep moist. Cover with plastic wrap to store. Set up water dishes and soapy water dishes in sinks.


15 MINUES PER ¼” OF THICKNESS AT 275 DEGREES F. You can bake longer but not hotter. Lighter colored clays can be shielded with aluminum foil to prevent darkening.

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