Friday, August 12, 2016

Architectural Structure to introduce structure and function of teams

Polygon Architectural Structure
Lesson Plan for Grade 5, Collaboration
Prepared by fifth grade team


To help students learn the need for a good foundation and structure in their lives. To help students learn how to collaborate well with others. Fifth grade's overarching theme for the year is "I Create, We Create" and their lens is "structure and function"


  1. ISTE Innovative designer student standard
  2. Precursor to 5.L.1.1 - Understand how structures and systems of organisms (to include the human body) perform functions necessary for life.
  3. CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.5.G.B.3 Understand that attributes belonging to a category of two-dimensional figures also belong to all subcategories of that category. For example, all rectangles have four right angles and squares are rectangles, so all squares have four right angles.
  4. Mathematical practice of looking for and making use of structure
  5. 21st Century collaboration skills


  1. To reflect on group work and the importance of a firm structure
  2. To reflect on collaboration efforts within group
  3. To make a closed polygon structure based on the challenge presented


  1. Neon straws (90 in each bag for pair usage)
  2. Scissors (34)
  3. Scotch tape (34 rolls- one for each bag)
  4. 6 poster boards to put questions on for reflection (2 signs for each classroom)


Steps to check for student understanding

  1. That students understand and can point out a closed polygon
  2. That there are at least 20 polygons
  3. That the model is structurally sound
  4. That the structure and function can be described by the team
  5. That both students participated in the planning and creation of the structure
  6. That the students see the importance of effective communication and collaboration as a building block to their learning


STEAM coordinator will introduce the directions for creating the structure and work the room as pairs of students are creating their structures. Directions are:
Triangular Architectural Structure
CCS wants to continue to make improvements on campus, we are asking students to present ideas of placing architectural structures to be used around the campus for various purposes.   Be prepared to present your structure and its function.

  1. To make a basic building block, make one cut in the short end of the straw.
    2.  Insert short end of straw into the long end of another straw.
             Continue to follow this pattern.
    3. The building block must be a closed polygon.
  1. Structure must be securely connected - holds its shape.
   2.  Structure must have a minimum of 20 polygons.  You may use     
    3. Decide as a group the function of your structure.  
         Example:  building, factory, art structure, playground equipment,    

After creation, classroom teacher will discuss the following questions:

Group Work Reflection
  1. Did your group work well together today? Why or why not?
  2. Did everyone contribute?
  3. Did you listen to the ideas of everyone in your group?
  4. Where your ideas listened to?
  5. Did your group ask for help when needed it?
  6. Did you group finish the day’s assignment to your satisfaction? Why or why not?
  7. What can YOU do to help make your answer to #8 happen?
  8. List at least one specific way you can contribute today.
            Adapted from
            As I walked around the classrooms looking at the various ideas forming, the teachers were asking three questions: 1. What is your structure? 2. What is your structure's function? 3. How will it be useful to our school campus?

            The uniqueness of the structures blew me away...from a school bank with a vault full of money, a swimming pool & playground equipment for our students, not to mention a mansion and private jet for our school president, the creativity was amazing! The students problem solved the issue of needing to have at least 20 polygons as they started their planning, realizing quickly that long-sided shapes meant less polygons. They quickly adapted to the needs in the directions.

            To end, each of the three fifth grade teachers had the students share the structure and function of their architecture and they did the recap to discuss the importance of planning, communicating, and growing! It was a great project to start the year off with because it allowed the students to start thinking about teamwork and getting along with their peers!


            1. So much fun! This was such a great learning experiment for the fifth graders! Mine hasn't stopped talking about it!!

            2. I could tell she liked it! I'm so glad :)