Preparing for the Monona Terrace

For those of you teachers out there wanting to put together a unit on Frank Lloyd Wright, I have received some pre-field trip materials I thought I would share with you.

For parents and students, I hope you use this information to further your knowledge outside of school.  I know some of you students are very interested in Mr. Wright’s work and this is an opportunity to really dive in deep!!

Recommended Books for Students from the Monona Terrace website:
Architecture Animals Architecture Colors Architecture Counts Architecture Shapes by Michael J. Crosbie and Steve Rosenthal Preschool Age
Four colorful board books that use photographs to introduce the built environment to young children.


Architects Make Zig Zags: Looking at Architecture from A to Z
National Trust for Historic Preservation Ages 9-12 Twenty-six whimsical line drawings of the most common features of buildings and neighborhoods, including brackets, columns, dormers, and eaves.


Castle Cathedral: The Story of its Construction City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction Pyramid by David MacCaulay Ages 4-8 Entertaining stories and wonderful pen and ink illustrations bring building construction and engineering to the young reader.


Cut and Assemble Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House by Edmund V. Gillon, Jr.    $7.95 Create a three-dimensional model of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Style masterpiece. It is printed in full color on sturdy cardstock and is complete with step- by-step instructions and diagrams. The finished product is two feet long and consists of balconies, platforms, a porch and an entrance court.    Available at the Monona Terrace Gift Shop    Order online at The Monona Terrace or contact them at (608) 261-4036


Famous Buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright by Bruce Lafontaine $2.95 Designed for both coloring book enthusiasts as well as architecture students, this book contains 44 finely detailed renderings of such buildings as the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio, Unity Temple, Guggenheim Museum and Robie House, plus many more. Each rendering is accompanied by a description of the architect’s work. Available at the Monona Terrace Gift Shop Order online at The Monona Terrace or contact them at (608) 261-4036


Frank Lloyd Wright: Visionary Architect People to Know Series by David K. Wright (no relation) Young Adult
This biography is written in a conversational voice that children will find easy to read and understand.  This book looks like it might be more difficult to find.
Frank Lloyd Wright For Kids: His Life and Ideas by Kathleen Thorne- Thomsen    $14.95 This biography and activity book is ideal for ages 8 and up. The book includes 21 fun activities including finding geometric shapes in everyday objects, reading architectural plans, building a model of Fallingwater, and designing a city to name only a few.    Available at the Monona Terrace Gift Shop    Order online at the Monona Terrace or contact them at (608) 261-4036


Identifying American Architecture: A Pictorial Guide to Styles and Terms: 1600-1945 by John H.-G. Blumenson High School
Photographic illustrations of buildings, architecture details, elements, and forms to enable the user to make visual associations and to begin to recognize styles and elements.

Simply Wright by Diane Bresnan Fleming All Ages Rich color photographs illustrate themes of Wright architecture, including harmony with the land, shapes, natural materials, and light. A perfect introduction to the architect’s work for children. This book is only available from the author. Contact Heather Sabin, Monona Terrace Tourism Coordinator at 261-4015, for information.  This is also the book I use in my classroom.  It’s definitely worth it!


Stained Glass Window Designs by Dennis Casey    $4.95 Create your own stained glass window with this innovative coloring book. Boldly outlined on transluscent paper, the drawings include designs from the Robie House, Coonley Playhouse, Dana House and the Home and Studio. Available at the Monona Terrace Gift Shop    Order online at the Monona Terrace or contact them at (608) 261-4036  I ordered this one and it has been great in the classroom.  I made copies of it to have at each table for students to reference while they work on their windows.


Under Every Roof: A Kid’s Style and Field Guide to the Architecture of American Houses by Patricia Brown Glenn Ages 9-12
Kid-friendly, colorful illustrations that will help children easily identify elements of a house and different types.


What it Feels Like to be a Building
by Forrest Wilson Ages 4-8 With playful drawings and humorous text, the author uses human figures (plus some dogs and rams) to illustrate structural concepts like arches, walls, and compression.



Web Sites, Architecture Materials for Teachers:
CUBE (Center for the Understanding of the Built Environment) organization offers curriculum and programs on architecture and community education for all ages. Lesson plans are now available on the website.

This website by public television was created when Ken Burns’ Wright documentary aired in 1998.    Lots of great material for educators.

Site of the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. Activity sheets for Grades K-8 that you can download.

Educational materials produced by The Getty Center.    Go to “Spaces and Places” to find elementary level lesson plans about architecture.

We have also been using the following vocabulary list (also from the Monona Terrace) as reference in our classroom:

abstraction– a system in art and design where forms are represented by
simplified shapes and patterns.
architect– a person whose work is to design and draw plans for a building.
curvilinear– characterized by rounded lines.
exterior– outside.
form– the shape of an object.
geometry– the relationships of points, surfaces, angles, and lines. For our purposes- shapes.
interior– inside.
organic architecture– Frank Lloyd Wright’s philosophy of architecture that maintains building are appropriate to:
-Time- A building belongs to the time in which it is created

-Place- A building is in harmony with its natural environment and the landscape -People- A building’s first mission is to serve people and their needs.
piling– a long slender column driven into the ground to support a vertical load. symmetrical- having identical forms on either side of a center line.

terrace– a flat roof or open platform.

symmetrical– having identical forms on either side of a center line.

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