Mathematics | Introduction

It’s in the Details: Math and Scale

Wainwright Building


Students will learn the concept of scale and why it is important for architects.

Using a scale drawing of the Wainwright Building, students will take measurements and make calculations, culminating in the creation of a scale detail drawing of the building.

Grades: 6-12
Time: 2 class sessions

Standards & Objectives

This lesson addresses selected standards from the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. These can be found in the section titled “Mathematics Standards.”

In addition to the Mathematic Standards, students will be able to:

  • Understand why architects use scale drawings
  • Explain why different scales are used for different drawings

Teach This Lesson

Preparation and resources for teaching this lesson are found in the section titled “Mathematics Preparation and Resources.”

Instructions for teaching this lesson are found in the section titled “Mathematics Instruction.”

Interdisciplinary Connections

The PBS television program, 10 Buildings that Changed America, provides lesson plans in four additional subjects: Art, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies. All five lessons are combined in an interdisciplinary unit: One Building to Change My Community.

This Mathematics lesson can be paired with another 10 Buildings that Changed America lesson plan to create interdisciplinary connections.

  • Science: During student research on the Wainwright Building, ensure they learn about the structure and materials of the building. As an extension of the Science lesson, explore the invention of the elevator and how it allowed for buildings to grow taller.
  • Art: After understanding how to properly draw a building at a particular scale, students should think about using this as a way to draw the buildings they design in the Art lesson.