Return to Headlines

Eighth Graders Create 3D Models of Iconic Washington, D.C., Buildings

Irvington Middle School eighth graders took on the roles of architects to create a three-dimensional map of Washington, D.C., complete with 35 proportional models of real-life buildings in the nation’s capital.

Under the guidance of math teacher Gregg Pernick, Bernard Keating, Diana Tomaselli, instructional coach Nancy Fitzpatrick and innovation coach Stephanie Peborde Burke, the students used the actual dimensions of the iconic landmarks to scale them down, with a scale of 20 feet in real life to 1 inch on the models. Using cardboard boxes and minimal art supplies, the eighth graders worked in groups to create the models of the buildings, including the Library of Congress, Lincoln Memorial, U.S. Capitol, U.S. Department of Treasury, U.S. Supreme Court, Washington Monument, White House and World War II Memorial.

“This was a great learning connection to our students’ study of geometric transformations, specifically dilations and scale factor,” Keating said. “The students also had to use what they learned about measurement to accurately create their models.”

Throughout the hands-on, minds-on process, the students worked in small groups to design and create their buildings, which fostered their creativity and problem-solving skills. Students said they enjoyed putting their math knowledge to the test and learning in depth about each of the monuments. Once the students built their models, they painted them white in their art classes with assistance from art teacher Nina Rossi.

“My favorite part of this project is how it encouraged students to work together as a group to create something new,” Keating said. “There were no step-by-step instructions for exactly how to build their models; they had to come up with their own plan. In addition to using the math they have learned in class they needed to plan, design, cut, glue, assemble and paint to create their final product.”

The project culminated with all students bringing their finished models to the gymnasium on March 8, when they displayed a scale model of Washington, D.C. The experience helped prepare the students for their annual eighth grade social studies trip to Washington, D.C., from March 20-22, when they visited the buildings whose models they constructed.