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Everyone Needs Shelter

Explore shelters around the world. Make crayon rubbings to construct textured models of homes where people in various cultures and time periods live.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Students choose a country that interests them and locates it on a world map. Find out what types of homes people in that country lived in traditionally and where they live now. In China, for example, families who fish may still live on boats called junks, while city dwellers usually live in apartments. In the Philippines, some families live in houses on stilts. Some Navajo families today live in traditional 8-sided homes called hogans, but most of them live in ranch-style homes.
    2. Choose a recycled box to use as a base for the shelter. Find textured surfaces that will resemble the building materials for the shelter, such as bricks, concrete, wood, or metal (corrugated cardboard with the top layer of paper peeled away). Place white paper on a textured surface. With Crayola Twistables® make crayon rubbings. Press hard to make more pronounced texture patterns. Be creative! Experiment with mixing colors and turning the paper. Make different textures for the roof and exterior walls.
    3. Figure out how to cover the box with your crayon rubbings. Draw on details such as doorways and windows. Attach the paper with a Crayola Glue Stick. Make sure the structure resembles the actual homes of the region and time period chosen.
    4. Students display and discuss the shelters with their classmates. Find similarities and differences in building materials, construction methods, natural resources in the area, and other factors. Arrange the shelters along a time line to show how shelters have changed. Try other groupings to show other similarities and differences.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of aspects of a topic.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.

    SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.

    SCI: Offer causal explanations appropriate to level of knowledge.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Compare ways in which people from different cultures think about and deal with their physical environment and social conditions.

    SS: Describe how people create places that reflect ideas, personality, culture, and wants and needs as they design homes, playgrounds, classrooms, and the like.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Student groups create a sketch of their shelter model prior to building it. Identify descriptions of time periods this shelter would be found in, the country and climate the shelter would be found in, and what people might live inside.

    In small groups, students generate a list of materials needed to construct their shelters. Students also brainstorm what skills are needed to complete the building. Post these lists next to the shelter model on display.

    Students select a shelter model created by a team they were not assigned to. Students evaluate the shelter, determining what type of climate this shelter would be found in, a possible location of the shelter on Earth, etc. Students present their ideas to the class and determine their accuracy.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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