Recommended for 2nd-4th grades (all year), and 1st grade (spring semester)
Can a building talk? This program awakens children’s interest in architecture and New York City history. We introduce students to the idea that buildings do talk, telling us their use, material, age, and purpose. Students study historic neighborhood photographs & maps, learn 13 architectural vocabulary words, perform a block survey and play detective during a walking tour tailored to their school’s neighborhood, and act as architects as they design their own buildings, making creative decisions about the building’s use, material and architectural elements. The program is a great addition to the study of New York City, the neighborhood/community, as well as the study of history or the visual arts.

Students are first introduced to the notion that buildings can “talk,” i.e., convey information about themselves. Students study photographs of a variety of Upper East Side buildings to glean information about them. Visual clues and an illustrated architectural vocabulary sheet enable students to discuss the approximate age of a building, its material and use.

LESSON 2- WALKING TOUR (in your school neighborhood)
Armed with their new architectural vocabulary, the class embarks on a custom designed walking tour near their school to act as architectural detectives and survey the block. As the class walks, our educator encourages the students to look for visual clues that help to tell the story of the building, block and neighborhood. The history of both New York City and the local neighborhood is also explored through maps, historic photographs, outdoor clues, and students’ observations.

LESSON 3- ART ACTIVITY (classroom session)
Now that students are experts on architecture and have observed it in the field, they are ready to become “architects!” Students design their own New York City building by using drawings of architectural elements to compose a collage. From apartment buildings, museums and schools to places of worship and storefronts, the possibilities for creative designs are endless! To further reinforce the program’s concepts, each student is given a copy of our newly revamped activity booklet entitled Building Fun: Exploring Architecture with Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts.


Also check out our new program, BUILDING FUN BASICS, for preschool and kindergarten students!