To perceive and appreciate the similarities and differences in shelters

To appreciate cultural values concerning shelter


Subjects (suggestion) 

Visual arts, human geography


Cognitive, creative, reflective


Some form of shelter is essential whether it be build from stone, mud or bamboo. Climatic conditions, economic wealth and materials available are all factors influencing the type and size of shelter one can build. The aim of this activity is to compare shelters from different parts of the world and discuss how they reflect cultural values.


The educator will divide the group into pairs and assign each pair two families from the book. These may be:

  •  two rural families;
  • two urban families;
  • a North American urban family and an urban family from another part of the Americas;
  • A North American rural family and a rural family from another part of the Americas.

Each pair will make a model or draq a realistic picture of the two shelters and list the building materials. The models or pictures will be displayed side-by-side and used for a discussion..

The educator can choose or all of the following discussion topics:

  1. What do the two shelters have in common?
  2. What are the differences?
  3. Were the materials for building the house purchased or did they come from the environment?
  4. What value has been placed on the house? Is it just a place to sleep at night or does it serve other purposes?
  5. How is the construction suited to climatic conditions?
  6. North American society tends to view a house as a symbol of wealth. Living in a large house suggests you are wealthy. Does this hold true for other societies?


Text: Families of the World

Art supplies for models and pictures