My students completed a Pueblo building activity as a unit wrap-up for our study of the Native Americans in the Southwest. They used one centimeter grid paper to cut out a pattern that folded into a box shape. Students added a few details to the box, and then all the boxes were stacked together to resemble the adobe pueblo homes.
Pueblo building homes were permanent dwellings made of adobe bricks. The multi-story structure was built around a central courtyard. The rooms were attached and resembled a modern day apartment building. Extended families would live in connected rooms, and as the community grew, new rooms could be added. People used ladders to get to roof top openings for access to rooms without doors or windows. Once we started stacking and connecting the student paper pueblo rooms, we were surprised how authentic the final product looked.
Pueblo Activity Materials
- cardstock paper (tan or light pink color looks more traditional, but white cardstock works too)
- 1-cm grid paper template (many sites have free printable templates– do a quick Google search)
- glue sticks and clear tape
- skinny wooden sticks (collected from your backyard or playground)
- hot glue gun
- colored pencils or markers
Directions for Constructing a Pueblo Building
- Copy at least one piece of grid paper per student on cardstock. I made copies of grid paper on regular copy paper and let students practice making boxes before giving them the cardstock paper.
- Draw an outline shape of their box. I recommend measuring 6 boxes (centimeters) for the 4 walls. The part that will become the roof can be a variety of sizes. 6-10 centimeters work well for the roof. I shared THIS VIDEO with the students before letting them draw the pattern for their room.
- Cut out the box pattern with the scissors. If students want to add any doors or windows, they should cut them out before folding and assembling the room. They should also add any color around the doors and windows before building.
- Fold the edges where the paper will bend and crease firmly. If students do not press their creases and make the edges sharp, the rooms will not stack well together.
- Fold together the box, add glue to the flaps, and press flaps to attach the walls together. If the flaps are not sticking well, add a small piece of clear tape to secure.
Pueblo Building Embellishments
- Some of my students added wooden roof beams using small sticks we collected. We unfolded a paper clip and carefully poked holes near the roof line on the front and back of the box. The holes should be across from each other. You can use the grid squares as guidelines. After holes are poked, we pushed sticks through the front of the building and out the coordinating hole in the back.
- Students used hot glue to build ladders with small stick pieces. I put low temp hot glue guns on a big piece of butcher paper and added some small sized yard gloves with the hot glue guns. Students wear the gloves while using the hot glue to reduce the risk of burning fingers.
- Make a few plain boxes to use as base pieces for stacking and creating the layers. Stack boxes side by side, to the back, and on top of each other to create the effect of an actual pueblo building. We leaned the ladders on the buildings at different levels to finalize the look.
If you would like to extend this activity, there are options for math integration by calculating square footage of each building. Students can use the grid on the interior of the boxes to calculate the dimensions and area.
To purchase other supplemental materials for a study of peoples of the Southwest, CLICK HERE. To see all of my resources for Native people in North America, CLICK HERE.
The student adobe Pueblo homes look authentic! I bet your students loved this unit on the native Americans in the Southwest and you probably have great photos from Santa Fe and Taos to add to your unit. I am certain you added a bit of authentic Southwest food, too! What as great unit you must have!
As always, we ran out of time long before I ran out of ideas of fun things we could do about the Pueblo people! I definitely used my Santa Fe experiences to help with discussion about the adobe and architecture.