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Explore architecture and the built environment using all of your senses through hands-on activities about science, math, art, reading and writing, and social studies, using things you can find around the house (Ages 5-12)

Anatomy of a Chicago Bungalow

Did you know that Chicago Bungalows share a set of common features? We call this their “anatomy,” or, the elements you can look for when deciding if a home is a bungalow. Use these activity sheets to explore this iconic Chicago home type.

Chicago Housing Styles

Explore 5 important types of housing that historically helped Chicago grow, and color them to make them your own.

Schoolyards to Skylines

Schoolyards to Skylines was written in 2002 as a way for K-8 classrooms to use architecture and Chicago's built environment as tools for teaching social sciences, science, mathematics, language arts, and fine arts. Many of its activity-rich lessons are great for at home exploration as well! Check out these selections:

Since the release of Schoolyards to Skylines, learning standards in the state of Illinois have evolved. For more information, please see the state’s updated standards.

Social Studies

The Great Chicago Fire (upper elementary)
How did the Great Chicago Fire of October 1871 change the way people designed and constructed buildings in the city?

Immigrant Architecture (upper elementary) How did architecture constructed for immigrants to Chicago help remind them of buildings in their homeland?

Science & Math

Bodies and Buildings (lower elementary)
How can my body be compared to a building?

Shapes in Architecture (lower elementary)
What shapes can we find in buildings throughout our neighborhood?

Shadows (lower elementary)
How does the sun change the shadow of a building throughout the day?

Skyscraper Structures (upper elementary)
How do skyscrapers stand up?

Nature’s Impact on Buildings (upper elementary)
How do humans, weather elements, and other living things impact buildings over time?

Language Arts

Changes Over Time (lower elementary)
What is changing or staying the same outside our windows?

Building Material Textures (lower elementary)
How can we describe the way building materials feel?

Family Homes and Histories (lower elementary)
In what ways is my home an important part of my family’s history?

Famous Chicago Architects (upper elementary)
How can reading about architects give us clues about their work?

Skyscraper Poem (middle school)
How did Carl Sandburg capture the spirit of a skyscraper in a poem?

Fine Arts

Drawing with Words (lower elementary)
What nouns and adjectives can be used to describe and illustrate a building?

Wearing Buildings (upper elementary)
Is it possible to wear a building?

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Windows (upper elementary)
How did Frank Lloyd Wright combine math and art to create his stained and leaded glass windows?