Shape East Resource Centre: Classroom and Teaching Ideas

As part of our participation and learning programme, Shape East provides a number of resources which can be used independently by school and community groups to engage pupils, parents and the public alike with issues relating to the built environment. Many of the classroom activity ideas have been donated by outside architecture firms, for which we are extremely thankful.

If you have any further questions, would like to know more about any of the resources we offer or have some resources you would like to offer us, please contact us:

Tel: 01223 462606

Teaching Aids


Shape East Presentations Bank

As part of our ongoing programme of seminars, lectures and tours, Shape East has compiled a database of the most useful, innovative and interesting presentations. These cover topics from street design to sustainable futures, the renovation of old churches tothe impact of climate change on the built environment. We thank all of our speakers for allowing these to be made available online.


Shape East Image Bank

This is a bank of professional images of design and architecture plus supporting information which can be used copyright free by schools or higher educational institutions for educational purposes. Images include photographs, design work, as well as ICT projections and downloadable as an average of 2 - 3 thousand pixel size.The images are a valuable resource for those wishing to bring in a visual aid to any lesson, talk or project.

Go to the IMAGE BANK >>


Shape East Learning Kit: How to Research and Record History

This is a downloadable learning pack containing a series of workshop ideas and learning tips used to research, record and transform an area's history into something exciting and engaging for young people. It was created as part of Shape East's Heritage Lottery Funded 'River Rhymes and Voices' Project

Download the Learning Kit >>

To download the full project report, please click here >>

Architectural Photography: Photography Tips

A series of simple but effective tips to help pupils make the most of their digital cameras when documenting architecture.

Written by Louise Taylor. Resource from Northern Architecture

Download the 'Photography Tips' sheet >>

How to Draw Buildings: An Artist's Advice

A list of suggestions to help budding artists get the most out of drawing buildings, spaces and places whilst on location.

Written by artist Vicky Holbrough, the tips and hints focus on materials, composition, mark making and perspective. Resource from Northern Architecture

Download the 'Drawing Tips' booklet >>


ArchiTEXTS: How to Create Poetry from Architecture

An easy to use frame for writing poetry in response to a building, space or place, outlining simple stepsfor even the most nervous writer to create a poem:

Written by Maureen Almond. Resource from Northern Architecture

"The whole idea with this approach is to help students build a template for themselves on which they can ‘hang’ a poem. I think to ask people who are unused to writing poetry simply to write a poem can be quite daunting. By the time they have ‘built a template’ most of the really hard work is done – they have done the thinking, creating and also in a way, the planning too. This technique can be applied no matter what the subject, all that is necessary is that you vary the questions to make them relevant.'

Download the 'ArchiTEXTS' booklet >>

Classroom Activity Ideas

Questioning Architecture (Key Stages 2 - 5)

Questioning Architecture is a simple resource aimed at encouraging pupils to understand and critique buildings, places and spaces. Use the question cards to initiate discussion and debate the good, the bad and the ugly by using one of six starting points:

People / Place / Space / Shape / Colour & Light / Material

To use the resource, download and print on either A4 or A3 paper, cutting to size around the dotted lines. To create a handy set of cards for your pupils, punch a hole in the corner and thread with a piece of ribbon or a spare key ring.

Resource from Northern Architecture

Download 'Questioning Architecture' >>

Space Explorers: Activities to Explore the Space Around You

'Space Explorers’ is a project aimed at encouraging young people to explore and examine the places in which they live. This resource provides a variety of activities by a group of architects / architectural assistants who have volunteered their time to run the project in schools across the North East. The activities are to be borrowed, stolen and adapted by anyone wishing to help young people make sense of the buildings, spaces and places in which they live.

Resource from Northern Architecture

Download 'Space Explorer' Activity Ideas >>


The Way We Live

The full colour publication, whilst not written as a toolkit or a curriculum resource, outlines the tools and techniques used during the project, which could easily be replicated in other learning situations. The publication outlines the project’s aims, activities and outcomes and is essential reading for anyone interested in identifying tried and tested tools and techniques for engaging young people in regeneration processes.

The Way We Live involved architecture students from Newcastle University and local young people in a series of investigations into their environments.

Resource from Northern Architecture

Download 'The Way We Live' >>


Other Useful Weblinks: Classroom and Online Activity Ideas

Downloadable Teaching Resouces from CABE: Government Advisor on Architecture, Urban Design and Public Space
Sketchbooks in Schools: using sketchbooks to inspire, motivate and engage
Engaging Places: A resource to support teaching and learning through buildings and spaces
Great buildings website giving information and images on a huge range of buildings
Street Films Website: A range of films of 'liveable streets worldwide'
Create your own city with this fun website
Architecture games, facts and activities from Open House for kids
The building game that helps you find out all about sustainable houses by building your own
Online Activities from BBC Scotland: Covers the Built Environment for Primary ages 4-11.
Dr E's Energy Lab: interactive site with energy info aimed at KS! and KS2
Centre for Alternative Technology: Interactive image of wind generator