Design a Dream House Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

With this lesson plan, your students will learn about domestic architecture and explore the elements of architectural design by creating their own house.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify major styles of domestic architecture
  • Demonstrate focused research skills
  • Synthesize architectural information into a visual design


1-2 hours

Curriculum Standards


Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.


Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.



  • Domestic architecture
  • Colonial
  • Gothic revival
  • Victorian
  • Prairie style
  • Ranch style
  • International style


  • Ask students to think about the architecture of their homes, as well as other homes they see around town. Talk about domestic architecture:
    • What are the most visible architectural features of a house?
    • What defines the style of a house?
    • What special issues do architects have to think about when designing a house? How is this different from other forms of architecture?

Read Lesson

  • Hand out printed copies of House Architecture: Styles and Design
  • Select a student to read aloud the section ''Domestic Architecture''. Discuss the term domestic architecture. Possibly writing the definition on the board.
  • Select a student to read aloud the section ''Colonial''.
    • Ask students to shout out the main visual elements of a colonial-style house. Write those on the board, under the heading Colonial.
  • Select students to read aloud the remaining sections, one at a time. After each one, have students identify the main elements of that style, and write them on the board.
  • You may test student understanding with the lesson quiz. Go over any answers that students may have gotten wrong.


  • Tell students that they are going to be designing their own dream house. This will involve two aspects: designing the exterior and designing the interior.


  • To design the exterior, have each student select one of the styles on the board that appeals to them.
  • Give students 10 minutes to research that style, identifying major design trends and motifs that define that style and previewing examples of existing houses with that style. Have students sketch and jot down ideas that they like.

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