Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Penguin Palace

Frieda Bates
Santa Rosa District Schools


The students design a model to scale of the basement in [Mr. Popper's Penquins]. The model includes 5 modifications made to the basement by Mr. Popper and identifies the area and perimeter of each modification.


The student uses a wide variety of models (for example, manipulatives, diagrams) and applies counting procedures to investigate measurements of length, area, volume, and perimeter.


- Graph paper
- Copy of [Mr. Popper's Penquins]
- Colored pencils
- Glue
- Scissors
- Construction paper
- Butcher paper
- Ruler


Gather materials listed


1. Teacher and class review [Mr. Popper's Penguins] and reread the portion in which Mr. Popper moves the penguins to their new basement home.

2. Teacher and class identify at least 5 modifications made to the basement in order to house and train the penguins. Modifications selected may include the fish pool, Mr. Popper's chair, the freezing unit, the ice castle, the piano, or the ice rink.

3. The teacher then demonstrates using a ruler and butcher paper the process of cutting out a square foot. Students cut out their own 12'' x 12'' piece of paper.

4. The teacher and students combine their 12'' x 12'' squares and discuss how much space each modification to the basement would reasonably require. (Teacher and students put their squares side-by-side to observe areas of various sizes to assist them in determinig what would be reasonable.) They also determine a reasonable size for the basement. (The students may individually vary the size of the basement and the modifications, but they should keep it within a range specified by the teacher.)

5. The students and teacher then discuss how to represent the basement and the modifications to scale using graph paper. One square of graph paper may represent one square foot of actual space.

6. Students cut their representation of the basement out of the graph paper and glue it to their piece of construction paper. They use colored pencils to draw and label each modification in a specific color.

7. Underneath the model of the basement, each student constructs a key. The key indicates scale. The key must also provide the following information: the name of each modification, the representative color, the area and the perimeter of each modification.


The completed model of the Popper basement is assessed. The teacher checks the area and the perimeter of each modification drawn by the student as indicated by the key. Students having difficulty calculating perimeter and area may be placed with a peer tutor for assistance.


The teacher may choose to have the students draw a scale model of the classroom, their bedroom or some other area.

The teacher may also choose to have the students research another animal that might be kept as an exotic pet or in a zoo. The students would need to identify the specific needs of this animal and design an appropriate scaled model of a habitat.

This activity also works well with small groups.

Peer assistants may assist students having difficulty.
Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.