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Dwarf Dwelling

School: Shutesbury Elementary School

City/State: Shutesbury, MA

Grade(s): 5, 6

Format(s): Blueprint

Subject(s): Visual Arts

Project Overview

A student from a 5th/6th grade classroom at the Shutesbury Elementary School in Shutesbury, Massachusetts created this illustration of a dwarf dwelling as part of a Learning expedition on architecture.

As part of a Learning expedition focused on Architecture, students were taught how to do cross-sectional drafting. Beginning an historical study of residential architecture, the students started with cave dwellings and drew caves both from a plan view and a cross-sectional one. To understand the environment that they were asked to diagram, and as part of a team-building adventure activity, students explored local wild caves with adult guidance.

The task given to students was to create a prehistoric cave home in cross-sectional view in which people could actually live. This design task reinforced the understanding of section view in architecture by connecting to an image familiar to students from picture books of animals living (like people) in furnished homes underground or in hollow trees. Students also wrote a story about the people who lived in their fictionalized setting, including details about how they lived their lives.

In the drawing shown here, this particular student chose to create a fantasy dwelling – that of dwarves. This student wrote a compelling story that accompanies this detailed dwelling, telling the story of a human foundling who was raised by dwarves in this dwarf kingdom.

The dimensions of this product are 18 by 24 inches. 

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • Highlights an extraordinary example of a cross-sectional diagram
  • Demonstrates a highly engaging product – one that is fun to look at by people of all ages; in fact, many students feel motivated to create their own after viewing this model
  • Demonstrates exemplary attention to detail. The artistry is very powerful
  • The details that this student included are intriguing; the diagram almost begs for the accompanying narrative
  • Highlights a format that allows the work of each student to be individually assessed

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