Gingerbread Houses

This is a great activity for the week before winter vacation — very calming activity. Be sure to play soothing instrumental music during the building process.

Objectives:

  • listen to literature about the North Pole, bakeries, Mrs. Santa Claus, ginger bread.
  • follow directions to assemble a gingerbread house out of icing, graham crackers and candy.
  • write directions for making a gingerbread house.
  • plan, estimate, and calculate the cost and design of a ginger bread house.
  • purchase the supplies needed and build a house to match the plan.

Materials:

  • Planning Sheet
  • Literature Books about baking, gingerbread, Mrs. Santa Claus
  • 4 graham cracker halves
  • icing with Cream of Tartar
  • candy decorations (M&M’s, gumdrops, peppermint, candy canes)
  • sprinkles
  • a base to build on
  • a plastic knife
  • a cardboard rectangle (roof)

Lesson Plan:

  1. Read aloud on the rug, an assortment of literature books about the North Pole, baking, Mrs. Santa Claus and gingerbread. Bring in pictures of very intricate gingerbread houses to share.
  2. Back at their seats, pass out the “Planning Sheet”. Review together how they will complete it. Then, have them fill in 4 graham crackers and 1 icing and calculate the total . Have them use tally marks in case they have to purchase more (such as a broken cracker). When that is complete, tell them to put their plan sheet away until after lunch.
  3. Give the following directions for “How to Build a Gingerbread House”. Procedure:
    • First you will need your base to build on, 4 graham cracker halves and icing. Using your knife, spread the icing on the bottom edge and one side edge of one graham cracker.
    • Decide where you want your house to stand on the base, and gently stand it in place. (Sing “Frosty the Snowman” while it hardens).
    • Then, take a 2nd graham cracker and spread icing on the bottom edge and on both sides. Connect this cracker to the first cracker at a right angle (Name Santa’s reindeer while it hardens).
    • Next take the 3rd graham cracker and follow the same procedure as with the 2nd cracker (Count up to how many days there are ‘til Christmas).
    • The last graham cracker also has icing on 3 sides and is placed between the 1st and 3rd cracker to form a square. (Eat a gingerbread boy while it hardens).
    • Wait at least 2 hours for the walls to become firm. While you are waiting, plan how you will decorate your house. Think about how you can use gumdrops, M&M’s, peppermint candies, and candy canes to create doors, windows, a wreath, and Christmas lights. Have Fun!
  4. On the board write a word bank for words they will need to write the directions. Pass out the sloppy copy form and guide them in listing, in their own words, the materials needed and then the procedure for building a gingerbread house. The teacher can informally edit walking around the room.
  5. When they have finished their sloppy copy, pass out the gingerbread boy pattern, and the bakers hat and apron. The students write their ingredients on the hat and their procedure on the apron. Some children will need two aprons (front and back) to complete their writing. Stress that the gingerbread boy is their published product and their writing should be of final draft quality.
  6. After lunch, students take out their plan sheets and receive $1.00 in change. They must design the 4 walls of their house and then add how many materials they will need and calculate the amount. As they are ready students will come over to the bake shop, a table where you have set up all the supplies they will need. The student will purchase materials from the teacher.
  7. Students then build their houses. It’s a good idea to start the building process together. Pass out holiday pages to work on while they are waiting for everyone to finish their calculations and purchasing. Be sure to play wonderful Christmas music and have fun.
By: Gayle Ertel, Third Grade Teacher

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