Wk. 5 – Construction of Structures

Week #5: Construction of Structures


  • Build a model of their own design to house a plastic dinosaur
  • Compare and evaluate materials and methods of construction
  • Identify the purpose of the materials used in their structure
  • Combine materials to produce desired properties
  • Recognize the importance of shelters
  • Recognize that the design of structures is related to local conditions and the materials available
Model of an ice age shelter made from mammoth bones and hides


  • Learners explored ways to stack stones as high as they could.
  • Learners created their own measuring cups for creating their cements.
  • Learners evaluated mixtures of water, flour, cornstarch, and sand for their effectiveness as a cement to hold stones together into a wall.
  • Learners discussed examples of shelters.

  • Using supplied materials, learners built a shelter large enough to house a plastic dinosaur.

Questions to Discuss

  • What size and shape of stones was the easiest to build with?
  • What where the best ingredients for mixing your own cement?
  • What material was your favorite to build you shelter with? What did you like about it?
  • What materials would you choose to build a shelter for a dinosaur the same size as you?
  • What are some materials that would have been used by First Nations people to build shelters in the past? Hint – would it matter if they lived near a forest or on the plains?

Things to Try at Home

  • Make a list of other materials used to hold things together. If possible, use a sample as part of the list.
  • Find pictures of structures that animals build. Some animal structures have inspired human designs. Can you find any examples of this?
  • Look at examples of buildings from several centuries ago. Did they use the same materials or did they use the same materials in a different way? Are modern buildings taller or stronger than they used to be?
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