Frequently Asked Questions
When can I use this book?
Throughout the school year! Architecture can be much more than a
once-a-year unit. Schoolyards to Skylines shows how to weave
architecture into daily lesson plans for all subject areas, from
September to June.
How can I fit an extra subject into my school day?
We fully understand the many demands placed on you and your students.
Architecture doesn’t have to be an extra subject squeezed into your
school day. In Schoolyards to Skylines, you’ll find lessons and
activities that use architecture as a real resource tool to teach the
core subjects you already cover. Forty-seven lessons are organized
within five subject areas: Social Sciences, Science, Mathematics,
Language Arts, and Fine Arts. We intentionally grouped the lessons by
core subject rather than by grade level, because we encourage you to
explore and discover other themes that build on what you are already
How can I use this book?
The lessons are interactive, hands-on, and experiential. They are
designed for a range of learning styles. Your classroom, the school
building, and your local community are used as starting points for
experiencing architecture. Images, drawings, maps, and articles are all
included on the student handouts at the end of each lesson. We are
aware of budgetary concerns at many area schools, so lessons require
only common materials.
How does this book relate to my state’s academic standards?
Every lesson is directly linked to the Illinois State Goals and Chicago
Academic Standards. These goals and standards were used to guide the
lesson themes. At the beginning of each lesson, the goals and standards
are listed and reprinted in full for easy reference. If you teach
outside of Illinois, the lessons in Schoolyards to Skylines will also
be beneficial tools in your classroom. Your state’s academic standards
can be matched to those in Illinois, and the ideas explored in the
lessons are easily transferable to buildings in your city.
My planning and preparation time is limited. What resources are included within Schoolyards to Skylines?
Drawings, maps, photographs, newspaper articles, and advertisements are
all included. Background information for the teacher, vocabulary,
step-by-step lessons, images, student handouts, extension ideas, and
resource suggestions make the book easy to use and exciting to teach.
Chicago’s amazing architecture comes alive through fun activities and
experiments using simple everyday materials.
How did teachers help to shape this book?
More than 20 educators—from large and small schools, from both public
and private schools in urban, suburban, and rural areas in
Illinois—spent two school years brainstorming, reviewing, and field
testing the lessons found in Schoolyards to Skylines. In addition, many
professionals in the architecture field served as consultants. Their
combined expertise has produced a book that is easy to use and
enjoyable to teach.
I teach 8th grade. Can I use lessons from different grade levels?
Yes! Teachers who field-tested the book found many lessons, from
outside their normal grade level, to be both intriguing and useful. We
purposely left off the grade level on the student handouts to make it
easy for you to share the 3rd grade lesson on terra cotta, for example,
with your 8th graders. By varying the intensity or number of
activities, the lessons can be adapted to different grade and ability
levels. Whether your students are working below, at, or above grade
level, the activity procedures, discussion points, extension ideas, and
interdisciplinary connections provide you with variety and flexibility.
I'm not a classroom teacher. How can I use Schoolyards to Skylines?
Schoolyards to Skylines is designed for teachers, as well as curriculum
specialists, resource coordinators, home schooling families,
after-school and scout program leaders.
How can I evaluate what my students have learned with this book?
Each lesson begins by asking a main critical question that appears in
large print at the top of each lesson’s first page. Student objectives
are also listed on this page. Student learning is measured through
their fulfillment of these objectives and by their ability to respond
to the critical question.
How does this book connect to the Reading Initiative of the Chicago Public Schools?
Schoolyards to Skylines offers an extensive variety of readings and
related activities to enhance any reading instruction program. It also
supports the four components of the Reading Initiative of the Chicago
Public Schools: Word Knowledge, Fluency, Comprehension, and Writing.
What other resources are available to help me teach with architecture?
The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers a variety of programs for
teachers and students in addition to this K-8 teaching resource.
CAF has also written The Architecture Handbook: A Student Guide to Understanding Buildings. This high school architecture textbook and accompanying teacher resource book are the first of their kind in the country.
CAF sponsors professional development workshops for teachers, the
Newhouse Program & Architecture Competition for high school
students, and architecture field trips for students.
For the general public we offer dynamic exhibitions on architecture and
the built environment, related lectures, adult education programs,
books on Chicago architecture, and, of course, our popular architecture
tours by foot, bus, bike and boat.
The CAF Shop offers architecture-related
books, slides, posters, puzzles, and CD-ROMs for use in your classroom.
Visit our online shop or 224 South Michigan Avenue.
Please send us your email address or postal address. We would love
to "keep you in the loop" and send you periodic updates about CAF
programs, tours, lectures, and workshop for both adults and students.
Chicago Architecture Foundation
224 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60604