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Sugar Cube House

Fifth Grade Geometry Activities: Sugar Cube House

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While most kids might dream of building an entire house from sugar à la Hansel and Gretel, there’s one obvious problem: ants. Compromise with this scale-model made of sugar cubes, a fun food craft and the perfect supplement to a geometry or measurement lesson.

What You Need:

  • Sugar cubes
  • Cardboard base
  • Liquid glue
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Popsicle sticks

What You Do:

  1. Architects usually start with sketches of their buildings. Your child can do the same before creating a sugar cube house or mansion. Have him sketch his vision of a house on scratch paper. Let him make it as fanciful as he’d like! He’ll use this sketch as a blueprint for his sugar cube house. 
  2. The cubes will be the building blocks of the new house. Have him start by putting liquid glue on the cardboard base where he plans to place the house's "foundation"—which will consist of first level of cubes. Have him lay down this first layer.
  3. From there, he can liquid glue on top of the first level of cubes, then glue on a second level of cubes.
  4. Have him keep repeating the gluing and stacking of sugar cubes until he reaches a place where he wants to put a window or door. When he gets there, have him leave a blank space and build (glue) a tower of cubes on either side of the blank space as high as he'd like the window or door to go.
  5. By this point, he might have noticed the need for reinforcing structures in buildings as he makes a cover across the top of a door or window. Have him use pieces of popsicle sticks (broken in half if needed) to go over the top of the door or window. Then, glue sugar cubes on top of the popsicle sticks. 
  6. Repeat these steps to create more than one room in the sugar cube house, especially if your goal is a sugar cube mansion. Dream big, home builders!
  7. Move the structure carefully if it needs moving. Store the house in the kitchen, but not for too long: sugar brings ants!
Beth Levin has an M.A. in Curriculum and Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She has written educational activities for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill and Renaissance Learning publishers. She has a substitute teaching credential for grades K-12 in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

Updated on Mar 14, 2014
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See more activities in: Fifth Grade, Geometry
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