Modernizing a Landmark Curriculum Resource


PlusUs recently completed a project with the Center for Architecture and Design to modernize their Architecture in Education (AIE) program, an influential experience first created in 1986. The program has served as the basis for the majority of K-12 architecture education programs around the United States (and many around the world).


Through a series of prototypes, PlusUs shifted the curriculum materials from printed workbooks to a toolkit of physical manipulatives and sequential activity cards that prioritized making and hands-on activities.

The new program empowers the next generation to be effective shapers of and advocates for our city, our neighborhoods, our parks, and public spaces. Students not only learn about career paths in architecture, engineering, and construction, but also learn how to use design to become better stewards of their neighborhoods and champions for a more useful, beautiful, and equitable city.


AIE brings an architect, designer, or engineer – plus a new flexible toolkit of educational materials – into K-12 classrooms for 4-8 sessions. Through several small projects, children are given the opportunity to explore how architecture, urban planning, and design impact their daily lives while they learn the design process. For the final project, children then use their new design skills to address a real-world design issue that affects their own lives, whether in their school, their neighborhood, or their home.




The Architecture in Education program is provided at no cost to Philadelphia public school classrooms and teachers. The Center is seeking support, both financial and volunteer, to expand this program into as many Philadelphia K-12 classrooms as possible.


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