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Architects In Schools Program K-12

The "Architects in Schools" program was created to encourage greater awareness, understanding and appreciation of Architecture and our built environment.

As a teacher, the program helps you make connections with architects in your own community who can assist you in developing lesson plans and learning activities that will introduce your students to important ideas and concepts through Architecture. It is offered as a community service by members of AIA Wisconsin, the state society of The American Institute of Architects.

Discovering Architecture In Many Places!

Architecture often is described as a combination of Art and Science; so it's a natural component for these two subjects. Architecture also can be used effectively as part of the curriculum for other subjects, such as History, Social Studies, Language Arts and Math.

As part of the “Architects in Schools” program, AIA Wisconsin has a number of resources available for use by member architects and teachers.

The following are a few examples:

Simply Wright

  • The Wisconsin Architects Foundation is proud to participate in the "Simply Wright" project by providing a matching grant for its production and distribution to schools.


Simply Wright - A Journey into the Ideas of Frank Lloyd Wright's Architecture was written by Diane Bresnan Fleming for children ages 6-12, but it is a book readers of all ages enjoy. It explains and illustrates the concepts of Wright's work and includes over 70 photos.

This book has received an "Outstanding Achievement" Award from the Wisconsin Library Association, and the author received a citation for "Distinguished Service to the Profession of Architecture" from AIA Wisconsin for her work on the book. Simply Wright is the only book anywhere that explains Wright's concepts to children at their reading level. AIA Wisconsin has copies available for members to borrow in our lending library. Contact the AIA Wisconsin office for lending information.


Architecture In Education
A Resource of Imaginative Ideas and Tested Activities

Architecture in Education is an invaluable resource developed for teachers and students that cleverly integrates concepts in architecture and the built environment into the existing standardized K-12 curriculum. Focused on the subject areas of social studies, language arts, science, math and fine arts, the manual takes a comprehensive approach to learning and forms the basis for an interdisciplinary educational environment.

Architecture in Education consists of hundreds of lessons, activities, and illustrations and covers such topics as the design of houses and cities and the structural properties of materials like steel and concrete. The curriculum opens students up to an understanding of the places in which they live, learn, and work and how they can help to make these places better. No previous experience in teaching about architecture is necessary. A copy is available to members through the AIA Wisconsin Lending Library.

Architecture in Education (PDF download)
This is a downloadable, 221- page PDF available for purchase. Cost: $5.00.

Just for fun: LEGO your House
Calculate how many LEGOS it takes to build your house


Buildings Speak

The 20-minute video, How Buildings Speak, illustrates how Architecture affects us every day. Featuring many familiar Wisconsin buildings, it introduces students to the basic elements of Architecture: form, scale, color, texture and materials. The video was produced by AIA Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Architects Foundation. As students learn the language of Architecture, they discover that buildings have a lot of say about the world around them.

Produced by AIA Wisconsin Architects in Schools Committee.
Contact the AIA Wisconsin office for lending information.


Terrace Town

The Monona Terrace biennial Terrace Town program challenges Dane County classrooms to design and build models of sustainable communities.  Teachers work in partnership with volunteer "mentors"- architects, planners, and design professionals- to facilitate the students'  work over several months. Download the Volunteer's Job Description (PDF).

More information is available on the Monona Terrace Educators page


World's Tallest Buildings 1914-2014 Infographic

Host a Barbie Workshop

Architects interested in sharing the profession with the next generation is invited to host an Architect Barbie Workshop in their community. The Architect Barbie Workshop Toolkit contains a step-by-step guide to setting up a workshop, as well as sample documents and activities that can be tailored to your specific event.

DiscoverDesign: A Student Design Experience

DiscoverDesign is a free web-based learning tool for teens created by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.  It empowers teens to gain architectural skills, learn green design principles, engage in problem solving, and connect to an online community of their peers, their teachers and design professionals around the world. It’s ideal for use in Career and Tech Ed classes and Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) courses.  Educators in art and science also find DiscoverDesign to be rigorous and relevant for their cross-disciplinary project-based learning.

So you want to be an architect - Part 1 (You Tube Video)

Part 1 in a seven part series where we learn how the architect invents by creating something of new utility.


Architect So, do you think you have what it takes to be an architect? Visit NCARB and explore more!



The Architect's Journey: Exploring a Future in Architecture, AIA, PDF

Lee W. Waldrep, Ph.D., Becoming an Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design - 2nd Edition, J Wiley & Sons, 2010

Helpful Links

Architecture Education K-12 Resources (AIA)

Discussion Topics and Activity suggestions for Architects visiting Classrooms & General Groups (MS Excel spreadsheet for download; prints on 8 1/2 x 11" sheet)

Grades K-2 : Construction Ahead! Designing a stronger and more efficient house.
Duration: 2 hours

UW-Milwaukee Architecture Summer Camp: This program gives high school students an intensive introduction to the field of architecture. SARUP students, faculty, and professional architects offer their time and guidance to students who participate in this program.



• NCARB - Becoming an Architect
• NCARB - Studying Architecture
• ARE - Taking the Exam
Monona Terrace Educator's Page  | Terrace Town Program

Milwaukee Art Museum Tours and Facts
Wisconsin State Capitol Tours and Facts
Self-Guided Historic Walking Tours
Walking Tours (Madison Trust for Historic Preservation)


Design Online

Design a House with Frank Lloyd Wright
Sponsored by FLW Preservation Trust

Google SketchUp is a free 3D modeling software 



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