Mapping Blueprints


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Engage students in observing their school, either by taking a walk around the school or through photographs of the building. What do they notice about the building in terms of size and shape? How are the shapes related to each other inside and outside the building?

Have students take a look at a set of blueprints of the school and ask them what these might be. Facilitate the conversation using prompts like, “Does this look familiar?” or “Think about what we just observed – what similarities and differences do you see?” “How are the shapes related here?”

Lesson Process:

Step 1:  Share with students that what they are viewing is called Blueprints and engage in a dialogue about how blueprints are designed and used. Explore the various jobs that someone might have for them to work with blueprints (architect, project manager, building owner, etc).

Step 2: Ask what is similar and different between a blueprint and an actual building. Then, have students view a copy of a blueprint and identify three shapes that are the same, but different sizes, using a ruler or pencil as a measurement guide.

Step 3:  Have students draw and cut out these same shapes in various sizes. Then, ask them to think about how they would arrange the shapes to create a “blueprint” of their own school.

Step 4:  On a large piece of paper, have students create their arrangement of shapes and then trace the outline of the shapes to create a “blueprint” of their own school. Remove the papers and critique how the blueprint looks different when you remove the solid shape and are left with the outline.

Time Required:
30-45 minutes

Materials List:

  • Pencils
  • Plain white paper
  • Blueprints of school/building
  • Photographs of school/building
  • Rulers
  • Construction paper
  • Gelli plates (optional)
  • Acrylic paint


Printing Their Blueprint.

Using a set of Gelli plates (or equivalent), have students take their original cut shapes and arrange them on a gelli plate.

Then, paint over the papers with acrylic paint. Place a plain piece of paper on top and press down. Remove the paper and view the print left behind.

Compare the shapes and sizes to the traced version and measure when dry