I love Projects. Geometrocity, the City Made of Math

29 July 2014

I'm just going to throw this out there, "I love projects".  It doesn't matter if it's reading, math, science, whatever--I just love projects and project based learning.  Giving students a large scale (or long-scale) project, seeing them attack problems, deciding where to start, and/or working within a group is one of the best things we can do as teachers (I don't have any data to back that last statement up).  Yes, it takes a lot of work to make sure students are progressing and making appropriate progress--but it's what we do.

Let me clarify this a little more:  I love projects that take place in the classroom.

I don't always trust projects that go home then come back a little too perfect.  Yes, your parents can get an "A" but did the kid even do anything?

"We also need to bring back science fairs," I scream as a step of my soapbox.

Before you get mad and tell me projects are a hassle let me tell you the positives that happen when they're done correctly:
  • Collaboration and Cooperation (two completely different ideas, both equally important)
  • Stirs creativity and imagination
  • Creates problem solvers
  • Allows for immediate feedback from peers and their own self-reflection/assessment
  • It integrates technology more efficiently
  • Connections to the real-world
I create project based learning activities for my students because I've seen the positive impact in their engagement levels and also allows for multiple modalities of their own learning to be used.  Some of these projects are shorter single day events while others may take a month.  It doesn't matter which kind I use, just that my students stretch their learning potential.

If you're looking to incorporate more project based learning opportunities in your class, might I suggest trying out Geometrocity: A City Made of Math.  This can be completed individually, within a group, or even as a class project.  Your students will literally be designing, planning, and building a city using geometry.

A great luxury of having a daughter in elementary school is that she always wants to try out what I create. She is my quality control.  So her and a friend spent an afternoon creating buildings, using nets, to design 3D models of their city.

Geometrocity is broken down into Phases (which the teacher has total control over) and students work through them with each step building on the next incorporating geometry skills to build sections of their city.  

One of my favorite aspects is you can differentiate this immediately to students whether it's choosing lower level sections (less vocabulary) or pushing kids to make it to the challenge section.

If you're interested in learning more about PROJECT BASED LEARNING check out my post on ten tips to make PBL a success in your classroom.

Still need more?  Stop by and see all the PBL's I've created.  They range from designing a zoo to surviving on deserted islands, or even creating colonies in outer space


And is it really a surprise that the first building my daughter made was Target?  
Nope.  We love Target.



  1. How fun! I love to incorporate projects as often as I can into the classroom, students love to create and I love to see them leading their own learning experiences.

    1. There are those "light bulb" moments I just love to see happen when they're creating on their own or within a group. It's a really cool thing to see/be a part of.

      I love it
      Thanks Erin!

  2. This looks fantastic! Last year I had my students create a city which met certain criteria - combining geometry, perimeter, area, angles. I love that you have also added the persuasive language and more! I have added this to my wishlist! Thanks!
    Grade 4 Buzz

  3. This is seriously amazing for so many reasons! What an awesome activity for students to complete- you are so very creative! I also love that your daughter built Target first- that'd be my #1 creation too-- and clearly a good quality control inspector. :)
    Learning to the Core

  4. I seriously can't wait to use this in my classroom, Matt! I'm just so giddy about it. I'm going to build Target first too. I'm loving the road too. Tell the girls they get an A++++ from me!!!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  5. Great project...I am super excited about integrating this into my math program. Quick question- Is there any measurement involved? I'm in Canada and we use metric so I like to check and be sure before I buy something with inches.
    Thinking of Teaching

  6. What an incredible project! I bet the kids really enjoy this activity and really get into it! Can't wait to share your post with others :) Thanks so much
    The Techie Teacher

  7. I love your Geometrocity project on TpT! Have you heard from any teachers doing it for high school sophomore classes? Thanks!

  8. Do you recommend doing one phase per day, making it a seven day project? What is your experience with timeframe?

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