Introduce the Project and Generate Interest

1. Introduce the challenge. The challenge in this project is for students to examine trends in housing, extrapolate that information to predict the future, and use their geometric modeling skills to design a house that supports their predictions.

2. Describe the scenario and the task. Clarify, if necessary
The challenge in this project is for students to examine four trends—population growth, urbanization, energy efficiency, and changing tastes in design—that will affect the kind of houses that people live in by 2075. Students will create a floor plan and basic model of a house of the future that reflects these four shifts, and then deliver their design and give evidence of their thinking in the form of a 10 minute presentation about why their house will be necessary and useful in the future. The format for the talk can vary, but it is suggested that the presentation follow the guidelines for a TED-like talk in which presenters give short presentations that focus on the future and innovation. Their model houses must accommodate a family of four. It can be a stand-alone dwelling, be part of a cluster, and use any shapes. Room for a vehicle or outdoor space is optional. The project is designed to encouraged creativity and imagination.

Students will create a floor plan, a basic model sketch, and a 10 minute presentation as their final products. The floor plan and model should convey key geometric concepts and show how geometry was used to construct the floor plan and model.  
The students will work in teams of three to four to create presentations that should include three elements: 

  • The model
  • An explanation and defense of design choices
  • An overview of why the design would help solve housing problems in the future.

Ideally, the presentation will be digital, in the form of a Prezi, PowerPoint, or something more inventive. If technology is not available, students can create a TED-like stage and use posters as their backdrop. The plans that accompany the model must include key geometric information showing that students understand formal constructions.

Students must show that they can answer the Driving Question by demonstrating that their ‘house of the future’ accounts for population growth, urbanization, energy efficiency, and future design trends.
This project may be completed entirely in a geometry class or taught in tandem with geography or other social studies classes.

3. Frame the task with the Driving Question. How can we design a house that meets people’s needs in 2075?

4. Describe the concepts that students will learn as they complete the project. 

  • Polygon Angles Sum Theorem
  • Polygons in a Coordinate Plan
  • Proofs Using Coordinate Geometry

5. Discuss the why behind the project. To help students gain a deeper appreciation of how geometry is a foundation for design and architecture.

6. If using Curriki Geometry for your students, invite them to the site.

7. Have your students review the student materials available to them. You may also choose to download and print some of the resources for distribution as a student packet. 

8. Anchor rubrics. Students should understand project grading and rubric language. Discuss the Creativity section of the Project Rubric with students and note its importance to the project.

If your students have no or little experience with PBL, you may have to begin the first day by explaining the process. They can also watch the video Project Based Learning: Explained (approximately 4 minutes) or a video on PBL and mathematics (approximately 30 minutes).

Tips and Tools

Generate interest in the project by using an Entry Event. If the project is cross-curricular with social studies, the Entry Event can be done in the social studies or other class. Examples:

  • Have students examine pictures of futuristic houses or sketches of ideas about houses and what they may look like. Discuss what they observe. How do these houses reflect the four factors influencing the house of the future: population growth, urbanization, energy efficiency, and changing tastes in design. 
  • If necessary, help students establish a timeline. How far away is 2075? How old will they be? 

After discussion, have them share the initial brainstorm on the Driving Question using Gallery Walks (link takes you to an explanation of a Gallery Walk) or Padlet (a site where you can add anything to your blank “wall”).

If your or students would like to change or refine the Driving Question, use this Protocol for Refining the Driving Question.  

It’s critical to a good start that students understand they will be assessed on (1) geometry content; (2) mathematical practices; (3) teamwork; (4) presentations.

The model can be drawn digitally on Google SketchUp or with other materials such as paper.