first grade / Subjects / Web 2.0 / websites

Weekend Website #73: 3 Programs to Teach Architecture in First Grade

Every Friday I’ll send you a wonderful website that my classes and my parents love. I think you’ll find they’ll be a favorite of your students as they are of mine.


1st Grade


Architecture, structures


Three projects over six weeks and your students will learn about blueprints, room layout, dimensions. Plus, they’ll understand how to think about a three-dimensional object and then spatially lay it out on paper. This is challenging, but fun for first graders.

Spend two weeks on each projects. Incorporate a discussion of spaces, neighborhoods, communities one week. Practice the drawing, then do the final project which students can save and print. Kids will love this unit.

  • First, draw a picture in KidPix of the child’s home using the KidPix architecture tools (use TuxPaint if you don’t have KidPix–it’s free). Have kids think about their house, walk through it. They’ll have to think in three dimensions and will soon realize they can’t draw a two-story house. In that case, allow them to pick which rooms they wish to include and concentrate on what’s in the room. Use the ‘stamps’ tool (in KidPix) to find items.
first grade

Classroom layout--through the eyes of a First Grader

  • Second, visit Classroom Architect and design your classroom with drag-and-drop pieces. I did a sample first, drawing suggestions from the entire class to come up with the layout. Students had to think about where tables and storage was relative to other items. This became a good lesson in visual thinking. After I drew the sample on the class monitor, all students developed their own.

Classroom layout--using drag-and-drop items

  • Third, build a virtual neighborhood with Mr. Rogers
first grad

Internet-based layout of a neighborhood

By the time students have finished this three-week unit, they’ll possess the rudiments of room design.

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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and creator of two technology training books for middle school. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman.  She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s working on a techno-thriller that should be ready this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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4 thoughts on “Weekend Website #73: 3 Programs to Teach Architecture in First Grade

  1. Oh these are wonderful! Love the child’s home KidPix program – that’s so cute! I can imagine kids would have a great time mapping out their homes!

    • I’ve collected them over a period of years, tried them on my students, and they work great. In my school, the architecture unit is 1st grade, which seems young. I wanted to teach Scratch, but I dunno–I’ve seen lesson plans for 1st grade, but can they really do it? I’ll settle for these three for a while.

  2. Thank you, for the offer to share your scope and sequence on the ISEning. I’d appreciate that greatly. And THANK YOU for pointing me toward your blog. It didn’t take more than a quick glance for me to decide to subscribe to it. My teachers will be thrilled with the help and fresh ideas.

    Sister Elizabeth
    Powhatan School

    • I will take care of that, Sister Elizabeth. I have it at school so when I get back in on Monday, I’ll send it to the address on this comment. I hope it helps. I know what a daunting task it is to put together a technology plan. A S&S will at least provide a start.

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