information for teachers:
The environment influences the
materials used to build. Local materials are often defined as building
materials that are found at or near the building site. Wood houses
are often built where there are many trees. In the desert, mud is
a local material. In tropical regions, grass and bamboo are often
It is also important to look at
the type of weather an area has. If a house is to be built where
there are seasonal changes it needs to accommodate all the seasons.
If a house is built where there are floods, it must be built off
A house provides shelter from the
weather, and safety from enemies such as wild animals. Houses are
places where people come together. Where they find comfort and keep
belongings. You can learn a lot about a culture by studying the
houses they live in.
Many areas are considered when
building a house, such as physical environment, weather, and local
1. Start by having the children
either take or bring in a picture of their house and bring in a
collection of pictures of houses around the world.
2. Compare the similarities and
differences of the houses brought in by the children. In Wisconsin,
most houses have a slanted roof. We have screens and glass on our
windows. Most houses have windows. Most are made of wood.
3. Discuss with the children why
our houses look this way. This area of the world has many trees
so wood is readily available. Mosquitoes and other flying insects
are in Wisconsin so we need to have screens on our windows. We have
glass in our windows because of the changing seasons. We need to
be able to keep the cold out in the winter. We also have snow so
our roofs need to be slanted to allow that to slide off the roof.
4. Discuss whether all the houses
in the U.S. are the same. Why are houses in the north different
from those in the south? (Environment, weather, materials to build
with, customs of the people living in the area.)
5. Read to the children A House
is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hoberman and discuss each of
the houses in the story. Show the children where these houses are
on a map of the world.
6. Show pictures of houses around
the world and ask the children to guess where they are located.
Ask them what clues they used to decide. Answers should include
the environment, weather of the area, materials in the area, wealth
of the country, etc.
7. Hand out the cards
containing environment, weather, and local materials information.
8. Have the children draw a house
according to the information on their cards.
Amount of time
1(forty-five minute session)
- Pictures of students' houses
- Pictures of houses from around the world
to draw house on
- A House is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hoberman, Penguin
USA ,1993 Paperback, ISBN: 0140951164
Houses and Homes, Author:
Ann Morris, Publisher: HarperTrophy: ISBN: 0688135781
A World of Homes: A Beginning
Social Studies Big Book. Author: Kari Jenson Gold with Janet
Reed, Publisher: Newbridge Educational Publishing, ISBN: 1-56784-305-0
How a House Is Built Author:
Gail Gibbons, Publisher: Holiday House, ISBN: 0823412326
Connections to Standards
Social Studies A.4.4, A.4.5, A.4.7, D.4.2, D.4.3, E.4.4, E.4.13