Alamo Models

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Lesson: Alamo Replicas

Scaled Measurement Conversions
The student will be able to:
  • determine an appropriate scale to minimize actual dimensions by correctly converting the actual measurements of the Alamo to those correlating with our scale, 
  • and work as a group to create a model of the Alamo which correlates to the said measurements.
  • §111.16. Mathematics, Grade 4.
  • (b) Knowledge and skills
  • (4.11) Measurement. The student applies measurement concepts. The student is expected to estimate and measure to solve problems involving length (including perimeter) and area. The student uses measurement tools to measure capacity/volume and weight/mass. The (s) should:
  • (B) perform simple conversions between different units of length, between different units of capacity, and between different units of weight within the customary measurement system.
Materials Needed
  • Teacher
  • Converted dimensions of the Alamo appropriately scaled down
  • Materials to distribute to students for models, listed below
  • Student
  • Illustration of the Alamo with actual measurements and dimensions
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Ruler
  • The following are possible materials to be incorporated:
  • Cardboard paper towel roles/toilet paper roles
  • Kleenex boxes
  • Shoe boxes 
  • Construction paper
  • Paint
  • Markers/Crayons
  • Poster board
  • Hot glue gun
  • Calculators

Anticipatory Set

  • The teacher will build anticipation within the student by telling the class she needs a bit of help.  She will continue on with her proposition as she informs the students that she has a friend who’s an architect.  As she explains that architects often use models of the buildings they design so their clients can really get a feel for what’s been designed, she will go on to say that he needs their help to create a few models of the Alamo for a project he’s doing that involves the city of San Antonio, and that he’s asked for their help in making them.  The only catch is, they must be scaled to correlate with the actual dimensions of the Alamo.
  •  Ask students if they think they’re ready to work as a class to help him, as they’ll assuredly accept the challenge and thus be active participants within the lesson.

Lesson Content/Sequence/Activities

  • Pass out one copy of the Alamo’s real life dimensions to each student.
  • Ask the class what they think you should all do in order to begin converting the measurements.  Scaffold their responses so that all students merge to the same page and are on the right track.
  • Tell the class you’re going to try and convert the first measurement, but that you must establish a scale first. 
  • Ask someone to define the term “scale” for you.  Discuss what an appropriate scale would be.  
  • Examine the resources you have to create the models and talk about those lengths compared those of the actual Alamo.  Make sure to end up deciding on whatever conversion your pre-determined measurements correlate with so as to later avoid confusion between groups.
  • On the Elmo, reference the actual dimensions on the sheet you’ve passed out to the students and model how to correctly convert the first two real life measurements to those of the scaled down versions that your class will be using.
  • For the third conversion (should you think students are grasping the concept from the first two, that is), allow them to integrate their responses as to what you should do in order to scale it down.  Correct and guide as needed.  o    Have them do the forth on their own, giving them about a minute to do so.  Go over this before revealing the answer as you allow students to guide the process.
  • BEFORE finishing the remaining conversions, INFORM the class that you’ll be splitting them into small groups (ideally four students each, +/-).  BEFORE you do so, stress that although they’ll be working together to complete not only the remaining conversions, but the actual model itself, they still must obtain clearance from you on the accuracy of their scaled dimensions of the Alamo BEFORE they can proceed towards building their models.  BEFORE splitting them up, pass out a copy of the rubric to each student so they know exactly what they’ll be graded on.  You may choose to continue with the anticipatory set in saying “your friend” said these would be the guidelines he’d need met, should we choose to help him.
  • Once you’ve checked a groups scaled down measurements, they may begin to assign roles within their groups as to who will be responsible for what tasks.  From here, they may begin to work out a game plan, choose materials, and complete their models.


  • Once each group has completed their model of the Alamo, groups will be allowed to come before the class and reveal their models.  They should state what each person was responsible for, as well as how they delegated the tasks and what materials they used.  


  • For Advanced Students
  • Students seeking a challenge can be asked to derive a formula for scaling down the original measurements.
  • If you allow your students to use calculators to aide their conversions, attempt challenging these students to use only mental math.
  • For Students Needing Assistance
  • Cardboard cutouts can be created in advance that are already scaled down appropriately for students who are struggling with the concept.  They can be traced to other materials and shared amongst the groups if needed.


  • Each student will have a rubric to be completed by the teacher, thus determining their final score towards the project.

Teacher Made Materials

  • Scaled Map
  • Rubric

Resources & References

Converted Measurements

Individual Contributions

Peer Evaluations

Group Replica

 Two or less conversion errors were made according to the scale.  The appropriate unit of measurement was also included with each number. 

(25 pts.)

 Throughout the project, I continued to: Remain on-taskStay positiveWork well with othersMaintain voice levels 

(25 pts.)

 My peers’ avg. rating placed me in the highest category, meaning I was a huge contributor that was valued within the group. 

(25 pts.)

 My group worked together to create an accurate, scaled down, neat model of the Alamo (on time).  We remained on task and worked efficiently together. 

(25 pts.)

 Three or less conversion errors were made according to the scale, including accurate units of measurement.     

(20 pts.)

 Throughout the project, I needed minimal reminders in regard to: Staying on taskKeeping positiveWorking well with othersKeeping my voice down  

(20 pts.)

 My peers placed me in the second highest category, meaning they thought I offered quite a bit of help within the group!  Generally, I was on task and ready to work. 

(20 pts.)

 My group worked well together and produced a realistic replica of the Alamo that was turned in on time.  They remained on task and positive throughout the project.   

(20 pts.)

 More than three errors have been made in the measurement conversions, but still less than half.  This may include listing inaccurate units or failing to include them in general.  

(15 pts.)

 Throughout the project, I needed several reminders in regard to: Staying on taskKeeping positiveWorking well with othersKeeping my voice down   

(15 pts.)

 My peers placed me in the third category, meaning they thought I’d have been more valuable as a team member if I’d have done a few things differently, such as:   

(15 pts.)

 My group turned in the Alamo replica, although we needed reminders throughout the project in regard to:      

(15 pts.)

 Half or more of all conversions made are inaccurate, although an attempt was made.

(10 pts.)

 Throughout the project, I needed excessive reminders in regard to: Staying on taskKeeping positiveWorking well with othersKeeping my voice down  

(10 pts.)

 My peers placed me in the forth category, meaning they thought the group would have ran smoother if I’d have changed several things, such as:

 (10 pts.)

 My group received severe point deductions on the project for the following reason(s): 

(       pts.)


Name:  ______________________________________________________ 


Alamo Conversions  

Our Scale:   ______________ in.  =    1 ft. 

(In other words, each inch of material used in our replica will represent 1 foot of the actual building.) 


(1)   __________ inches in our replica = 3 ft of the actual building.


(2)   __________ inches in our replica = 10 ft of the actual building. 


(3)   4.5 inches in our replica = ____________ ft of the actual building.