In seventh grade we do an integrated cross curricular culminating project called “Architecture as Activism”. The students select a region that have learned about in social studies this year. They then design a building that will address a need in that region. Their building must reflect the culture, geography, and ecology of the region. There are other aspects to the project as well, including an action plan and a letter, so it spans all of the disciplines.
I start the culminating project off in math. We first learn about floor symbols and floor plan scale. Before they start their culminating project, they do a mini-project so they can learn about and practice scale and area. For their mini-project they get to design a new multi-purpose building for our school. It has to be under 1,000 square feet and must include a bathroom, a storage closet, and some furniture. Since 1,000 square feet is pretty small many of my students are adding outdoor features and courtyard. Interesting building configurations make excellent area problems. Also, students do not realize how small 1,000 square feet really is. They have to make tough choices or be creative enough to make it all fit.