1. Teaching Ideas

Structures Around the World

The students have been exploring shapes in structures. We wondered what we already know about these structures. The students worked in groups to share their ideas.

  • What do you already know about these structures?
  • What questions do you have? 

Group A Brainstorm 

What we already know about these structures:

  • These structures are tall.
  • They are all popular structures.
  • These structures are in different countries.
  • Bridges go across the water. They help people go across from one side to the other.
  • The bridges are tall, because if the water comes up then the cars will go under the water, so they need to be tall.
  • They use hard things like metal and brick because they are strong and the people and cars will not drown in the water.
  • The bridge is made out of metal and concrete. Concrete is very hard so the car can go on it.
  • We use iron because it is hard.
  • They might use bricks and metal.
  • Some structures might be made of one material.

Questions we have about these structures:

  • What are these structures (structure 1)?
  • What did they use to make these structures?
  • Where, or what country is the first structure in?
  • How are structures made?
  • What materials were used to make the Eiffel tower?

Group B Brainstorm 

What we already know about these structures:

  • My structure is a bridge. A bridge helps people to cross the river.
  • All these structures are made of different shapes, like sphere, triangle, rectangle, rectangular prism, circle etc.
  • We need to use technology to build these structures. They help our life. We work more easily. A sailboat helps us to go across waters.
  • These structures are located in different places.
  • The spaceship helps us to go to the outer space so we can see things in the outer space.
  • They all look special.
  • They are different in shapes, they are made by different people in different places of the world, and they can look complicated using tricky shapes.
  • Some of them are big and some of them are high.
  • They are all famous, pretty, and unusual structures. People talk to each other about them so more and more people get to know these structures.
  • They have different shapes and different colours to make them more pretty. They do not use too many colours because that would make people dizzy.

Questions we have about these structures:

  • Why do people build these structures?
  • What do people do on the structures?
  • Why are some of the structures big?
  • What do people need structures for?
  • How can the people build a bridge across the river?
  • How do these structures help us?
  • Why do these structures look so difficult? How can they build such difficult structures?

Group C Brainstorm 

What we already know about these structures:

  • Some of the buildings are big and tall.
  • Some of the buildings have spheres.
  • I know they are tall buildings because I saw a tower line the one with the circles (3).
  • These are made out of shapes like cylinders, cones and cubes.
  • I know they are made of different sizes and many people can visit them. I think they are very tall and everyone wants to see it.
  • The building (3) has very funny shapes, this building is in China.
  • All buildings are made out of concrete. Concrete is like cement. Cement is really hard so that the house stands tall. Cement is really heavy.
  • I know it is made out of clay and some are made out of glass because picture 5 is wide white and it looks like it has clay and picture 3m the bottom has 5 cylinders shapes and that is why I think it has a glass.
  • All the different constructions are famous ones from different countries. They are famous because, picture 1 is a landmark from France, picture 2 is from Australia, picture 4 is from the Netherlands.
  • Picture 4, this is used for dumping water. They are used in many countries.
  • Picture 2 is kind of like a house because houses have the roof just like that. And the rest are not houses, they are buildings. The pictures 1,3 and 5 are really tall, but picture 4 is like it has wings on it, it is like a fan that goes round and round.
  • Picture 5 is the Sydney Opera House.

Questions we have about these structures:

  • Why do people make towers?
  • Why are some of these towers tall and some short?
  • Picture 5, how is that tower not falling because it is leaning?
  • Why do they need to be tall? – Why do people like to build tall and big structures?
  • Do people like to build tall towers? – Picture 3, there are little wooden rectangles, have they used glass or is there nothing inside?
  • Who built the towers? Who made the 1st tower?
  • Why are these towers made out of shapes?
  • Do people like towers made out of shapes?
  • How are towers made?
  • Which is the oldest and latest tower?
  • Number 5 is the oldest and number 3 is the latest building.

Next, the students used guiding questions and sentence starters to write about the structures they had chosen to recreate with shapes.  


Name it! What is your structure? My structure is…

Describe it! It is…

Structure: What materials have been used to create it? Why?

Purpose/Function: What is it used for? How does it work?

Connection: How is it connected to us?


How might we use new vocabulary to talk about our own structures? 

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