Teaching Cleveland
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Middle School Edition: 6-8

Lesson 17

A House is a Home - 1846


Students will examine drawings and floor plans of homes from the 1840s to determine what homes were like during that time period and how they compare to homes today.


  • Drawings and floor plans of homes from Godey's Magazine and Lady's Book(all four examples could be made into transparencies).
    Example 1
    Example 2
    Floor Plan 1
    Floor Plan 2
  • Samples of home designs from magazines (Better Homes and Garden, Architecture Digest, etc.)
  • Paper, crayons and markers


  1. What were the homes like in 1840?
  2. How was the interior space of a home used?
  3. What differences and similarities are there between the homes of the 1840s and homes of the 1990s?


  1. Discuss with students the variety of "homes" today - houses, apartments, doubles, trailers, etc. There are many different types of homes, as well as different styles of homes and they have changed through time. Example - the first homes in Cleveland were log cabins. By the 1840s a new style of home was being built. Today we are going to see what type of home was being built in the 1840s.
  2. Share with students a few examples of home drawings from magazines today.
  3. Project on the overhead the two drawings of homes from Godey's, explaining that these are examples of homes from a magazine from 1846. Let students discuss the architecture, windows, doors, roof. Count the number of rooms, decorations, chimneys, etc.
  4. Present the transparency of a floor plan. Lead the students on an imaginary tour of the house. Begin at the front door. As you walk students through the house, stop in each room, announcing what it is. Ask the students what they think will be in this room. As they list things, remind them that this is 1846 (no TV, VCR, Computers, air conditioners, electricity, etc.)
  5. When the tour is complete, ask students how this house is the same or different than homes today.
  6. Distribute paper to students and ask them to take a tour through their house. Have them draw a floor plan of their home, labeling and identifying the rooms like the magazine drawing. Younger students may want to draw only one room of their house - the kitchen, their room, etc.

Writing Assignment

Have older students visualize a tour through their home and then have them describe it in writing, including directions of the tour, and descriptions of the rooms

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