Varnelle Moore's
Primary Math Activities


Building Houses


   Intro to Measurement

Activity 1
   Building Houses

Activity 2
   Short vs. Tall

Activity 3
   Brick Walls

Activity 4
   Designing Bridges

Activity 5

Teacher Support
   Extension Ideas


Objective: to allow students to explore the attributes of integer bars.

Manipulative Activity: Individual children or pairs of children use the bars to build a house, describing the colors, lengths, and quantities of bars used to build their structures.

Distribute integer (Cuisenaire) bars to all the children in the class. Ask each child or pair of children to make a house with the bars. After each child has completed a house, compare the various houses. Ask questions such as:

  • Can you tell me about your house?
  • What colors did you use?
  • How many bars did you use?
  • How do the lengths of the bars compare?
  • What should we build next? (See samples.)

Technology Activity: Students use an integer bar applet written by Jacobo Bulaevsky to reinforce what they experienced with the integer bars manipulative.

Refer to How to Use the Integer Bar Program for directions.

Ask children to build a house (or if they are ready, have them build one of the constructions that they suggested after being asked What should we build next? Ask questions such as:

  • Can you tell about your house/building/construction?
  • What colors did you use?
  • How many bars did you use?
  • How do the lengths of the bars compare?

Depending on the availability of computers for your students, this activity can be done individually, with partners, in groups, or as a class.

Have students go to Building Houses.

Paper/Pencil Activity: Depending on the level of your students, have them complete this activity individually or with assistance. A possible activity:
Have students draw and write a story about their houses. Encourage them to use mathematical vocabulary including numbers, length, width, and height.
Literature Connection:
The Village of Round and Square Houses
Ann Grifalcone, (Boston: Little Brown & Company, 1986)

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

Home || The Math Library || Quick Reference || Search || Help 

© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.
Send comments to: Varnelle Moore