Our group has come up with a series of questions, designed to help our
hypothetical first grade students examine a particular building at Arcosanti.
The building is called the lab, and it incorporates many interesting design
The lab is a concrete structure with a large skylight that runs the length of
the building as its only light source. There are no windows on the sides,
not that we could see from the picture anyway. Also the building has a great
many plants that block the entrance from view.
Our frist step would be to show the students a picture of the outside of the
lab. We would then begin with general questions to get the students looking
at the picture of the building. We would then attempt to lead them to a more
in depth understanding of the reasons why the building is the way it is.
-What do you see?
-What do you think the building is made of?
-What color is the concrete?
-Why do you think it is a light color?
-What is your house made of?
***Here we would talk about the reasons for using concrete and demonstrate
how cool it is, temperature wise, by passing around a peice for the kids to
-Where are the windows in your house?
-Wher are the windows in this building?
-Why do you think they are there?
***At this point we would explain what skylights are and how the skylight in
this building works, we would also have them touch the window in the class
room and notice how much of the heat comes through, or cold depending on the
-In the summer, do you think it is colder or hotter inside because of the
-What do you think they could do to to keep it cool inside in the summer?
***We would now explain that they cover the skylight in the summer***
-Do you think that the cover is light or dark?
-Are there any trees or plants around the building?
-Where are the plants located?
-Are they close together or srpead out?
-Why do you think the plants are where they are?
-Is it cooler or hotter when you stand under a tree, compared to direct
***Here we would explain some other things about how plants help to regulate
temperature, besides giving shade****
-Do you think this is a nice looking building?
-Why do you think it is nice or ugly?
-How would you make it look?
-Would you change the color?
-What is your favorite color?
-Do you think your favorite would be a good color for this building?
-What color is your house?
-Is the building a nice shape?
-What kind of shape is your house?
-Do you like the shape of your house?
-Would you like to live in this building, and why or why not?
We would appreciate any feedback on how you guys think these kind of
questions would work with first graders. Especially you, Stacy. We've
noticed your recent posts to the list serve, and we're looking forward to
benefiting from your first hand experience.
erin, cindy, gina, mark g.