Designing a Funhouse


Katie Doyle

Unit Title:

Designing a Funhouse





Estimated Duration:

11 bells + 1 Day trip

Unit Activities:

Activity 1: Identifying the Problem, Research

Activity 2: Research, Possible Solutions

Activity 3: Determine Solution, Implement Solution

Activity 4: Implement Solution, Communicate, Test, Redesign

Background Knowledge: 

Students will come with varied knowledge. Some of the concepts that proportional reasoning is built upon are: understanding of rational numbers, multiplicative reasoning, relative thinking, understanding quantities and change, spatial reasoning, measuring, linear models, area and volume, unitizing, comparing quantities and change, scaling up and down and partitioning.


July 2014

The Big Idea (including global relevance)

The big idea for this unit is Entertainment. Groups of people have always be interested in finding activities to do for fun. These activities have varied from the Romans fighting to death in the Coliseum to present day gaming systems. Students will explore how entertainment has changed over time and specifically look at a Fun House. They will be exploring concepts of proportionality as each team will design their own room as part of the Fun House. Student will visit the largest Fun House in North America, they will create scale models on Google SketchUp and then they will build their room.

The Essential Question

What do people do for entertainment?

Justification for Selection of Content

In the 7th Grade, there are four critical areas of instruction. One critical area is for students to develop an understanding of and applying proportional relationships. Another critical area is solving problems involving scale drawings and informal geometric constructions, and working with two- and three-dimensional shapes to solve problems involving area, surface area, and volume. Students will build their knowledge in both of these critical areas. In the 8th grade, a critical area is for students to understand congruence and similarity using physical models, transparencies, or geometry software. Students will do this as they create their scaled down models of the actual Fun House and they will be working with Google SketchUp, which they will be building a 3D room on a 2D screen. 

The Challenge

Each team of students will design and build a Fun Room to scale to be a part of a Fun House.

The Hook

The hook will be students viewing themselves in a Carnival mirror. The mirror will provide different images of the students (fat, tall, crazy, etc.). In addition, students will watch video clips of several different Fun Houses. 

Teacher's Guiding Questions
Activity 1:

1-What is the engineering design process?

2-What is an essential question?

3-What are guiding questions?

4-What is a Final Challenge?

5-What do different people do for entertainment?

Activity 2

1-What are the different types of rooms/attractions in a Fun House?

2-How should we measure the dimensions so that everyone is uniform?

3-Why is it important to understand how and why the Fun House is designed?

Activity 3

1-Why is it necessary to use the same scale?

2-What should our scale factor be?

3-How do you determine what the dimensions of the room that you design?

4-What is Google SketchUp?

5-How do use Google SketchUp to create my Fun Room?

Activity 4

1-How can I take what I created in Google Sketch and build a 3D scale model?

2-How does a uniform scale factor keep the Fun Rooms and objects proportionate to one another?

ACS (Real world applications; career connections; societal impact)

Real World Applications: The entertainment industry is a multi-billion dollar business. This industry operates facilities and provides services to meet varied cultural and recreational interests of people all over the world. Coney Island operated a Fun House in the early 1900’s and since then carnivals across the country have used them as a top attraction.

Career Connections: There are many careers that could be associated with a Fun House. Here are some of the engineering fields: Architectural, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Construction, Electromechanical and Materials.

Societal Impact: Society’s interests drive what our entertainment industry will create. Fun Houses have been a form of entertainment for over a century. People have a great time visiting fun houses with their families and friends. When one visits a Fun House, it is just about impossible to not laugh and or have a great time.

Engineering Design Process (EDP)

Students will begin by identifying the problem during the introduction. Next, students will research the entertainment in various cultures and how entertainment has changed over time. Students will also visit a Fun House to see a real one. After the visit to Entertrainment Junction, students will begin to think about how they will design their Fun Room. As a team, students will determine what type of room they will do. Students will then construct a 2D prototype on graph paper. Next, students will construct their Fun Room in 3D on Google SketchUp. Students will then share out with the class how and why they designed their Fun Room and the objects they chose to put in it. The class will then put together the individual Fun Rooms to create a Fun House. Finally, if any of the rooms do not fit together or objects are out of proportion, students will redesign those pieces.

Unit Academic Standard

7th Grade:

RP 2b: Identify the constant of proportionality (unit rate) in tables, graphs, equations, diagrams, and verbal descriptions of proportional relationships.

G1: Solve problems involving scale drawings of geometric figures, including computing actual lengths and areas from a scale drawing and reproducing a scale drawing at a different scale.

G2: Draw (freehand, with ruler and protractor, and with technology) geometric shapes with given conditions.

G6: Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, volume and surface area of two- and three-dimensional objects composed of triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, cubes, and right prisms.

8th Grade:

G1:Verify experimentally the properties of rotations, reflections, and translations:

     a. Lines are taken to lines, and line segments to line segments of the same length.

     b. Angles are taken to angles of the same measure.

     c. Parallel lines are taken to parallel lines

G2. Understand that a two-dimensional figure is congruent to another if the second can be obtained from the first by a sequence of rotations, reflections, and translations; given two     

congruent figures, describe a sequence that exhibits the congruence between them.

G3. Describe the effect of dilations, translations, rotations, and reflections on two-dimensional figures using coordinates.

Where the CBL and EDP appear in the Unit

Lesson 1, Activity 1-Identifying the Problem, Research

Lesson 1, Activity 2-Research, Possible Solutions

Lesson 2, Activity 3-Determine Solution, Implement Solution

Lesson 2, Activity 4-Implement Solution, Communicate, Test, Redesign


Students will often use additive reasoning instead of multiplicative. Students will not understand the difference between proportional and non-proportional situations. Students will not confuse fractions, rations and proportions.

How to Make This a Hierarchical Unit

Proportional reasoning should be taught during the Middle School years. However, being able to reason proportionally will help students understand concepts in high school. In high school, students can determine whether a linear relationship is proportional or not. They could also study interest rates. They could explore the effects of doubling the rate of interest earned. They could look at differences in simple and compound interest. They might look at relationships when a diagonal of a square is doubled and what effect that has on the perimeter and area. Students could look at relationships of solid figures when height, length or width is doubled. Students could look at triangles and explore angle sizes with side lengths. Most of these topics could be explored creating a Fun House at the high school level, simply using different criteria and constraints.