Living Monuments: Designing Structures to Introduce and Honor Your Classmates

Article excerpt

Webster defines a monument as "a lasting evidence, reminder, or example of someone or something notable or great; a memorial stone or a building erected in remembrance of a person or event." However, most students are only familiar with structures in regard to houses, churches, stores or other similar buildings. Many children do not connect the idea of a structure with some of the most famous structures around us and those present in our daily lives. Monuments such as the Gateway Arch, Vietnam Memorial, Statue of Liberty, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Seattle Space Needle are examples of structures built as lasting reminders of someone or something notable. By introducing this activity to your students you can help them understand the concept of "structure" and enjoy a unique way of getting to know the class. Older students can complete more complicated structures and would need less guidance than younger children. Whether you are working with first graders or fifth graders, everyone will enjoy building and making a lasting reminder for a classmate.

Materials

Construction paper

Variety of markers

Pencils

Rulers

Single hole punchers

Recycled file folders

Brads

Scissors

Glue, tape, and staplers

Pipe cleaners

Procedure

Begin your activity by asking students to brainstorm a list of monuments they are familiar with. Help them come up with at least eight or ten monuments. Introduce the idea that monuments are built to honor a person or an event; a lasting reminder is one that will live on long after the event is over or the person is gone. If the class hasn't included a variety of monuments, including ones from other countries, you might add some of these to their list: the Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower, Egyptian pyramids, Stonehenge.

Discuss the information that monuments present to the people who visit them Connect this discussion to thinking about what your students would want other people to know about them if someone was going to make a monument in their honor right now.

Now that they know about monuments, what do they know about structures? Discuss these famous monuments as structures, showing pictures if possible. Give them your definition of what a structure should be.

Now they are ready to interview someone in the class to discover interesting facts they think they rest of the class should know. Depending on your grade level, you may choose to provide a list of information to collect, including: name, birth date, birthplace, places they have traveled, hobbies, pets, favorite things (like movies, food, etc. …