Learning Through Places: Introduction & Lessons at a Glance
October 10, 2018
Learning Through Places: The Beman Triangle in Middletown
October 10, 2018

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Learning Through Places

 The Connecticut State Capitol 


At the end of this lesson, students will have learned about the state capitol and what happens there. They will also have used their powers of observation to make connections between architecture and the purpose of buildings. Several of the activities are designed reinforce the concept of architecture designed for government functions. 

Recommended Student Reading

Where I Live: Connecticut, chapter 3, pages 26 – 29

Recommended Teacher Reading

See additional resources below.

Components of the Lesson Plan

  • Connections to the state Social Studies frameworks
  • A short essay, “What Type of Place Do You Live In?” that introduces students to the group of lesson plans, and the concept of different types of communities. At the end of the lesson plan, your students should be able to engage in a discussion about what type of community they live in.
  • Lesson Plan: The State Capitol
    Images and text written at grade level
    List of possible activities

I: Learning Through Places Introduction

This plan has two parts: an introduction to the series of lesson plans and Lesson Plan 1: The State Capitol.

Begin with a short introduction to the concept of different types of communities by having students read “What Type of Place Do You Live In?” This is provided as a printable PDF.

Learning Through Places: What Type of Place Do You Live In?

II: Lesson Plan: The State Capitol


Recognizing the places in our communities that are public buildings.

Conduct an in-class conversation about government and laws in general. It’s a good idea to have read or refer to Where I Live: Connecticut, pages 26 – 29.

Here are some questions to help guide the discussion.

  • Who makes the laws? A: The federal government, the State of Connecticut, and your town government
  • Where is the national capitol where the President and the Congress work? A: Washington, DC
  • Where is the capitol for the State of Connecticut? A: Hartford
  • What type of building do you need for the state capital? What does it have to have? A: offices, large meeting rooms, hallways, and conference rooms
  • What is the difference between a public building and a private building? A: A public building does not belong to one person. Public buildings are open to people (the public) and funded by public money (taxes). All types of governmental offices are considered public buildings. Examples include town halls, post offices, courthouses, and jails. Private buildings are owned by individuals and businesses. Examples include the house you live in, stores, and churches.


Next, hand out or have children link to the student materials, 

Learning Through Places: The State Capitol

Have them look closely at the first image and answer the questions provided in a classroom discussion. Some prompts are provided below.

What do you see in the photograph?

Is the building large or small?

Does it look old or new?

Is it simple and plain or elaborate and fancy?

What is the tallest feature of the building?

Can you see any statues?

Does it look like people take care of this building?

Have them read the information about the State Capitol. Ask them, “What are you wondering?”


Finally, choose or have students choose an activity to further explore the concepts presented in the lesson plan, including

Make An Entrance!

Construct a Dome

Connections to the Social Studies Frameworks


Change, Continuity, and Context

HIST 3.1-3:10

Compelling Question:

  • What symbols represent our town and state?
  • Why were specific individuals in your community honored through monuments or memorials, and how did they affect the history of your town, state, and country?
  • How has our town changed and/or stayed the same over time?

Additional Resources

Connecticut State Capitol, 1872-1879, Richard M. Upjohn, architect; interior decoration, William James McPherson. 1977-1987, restored, Dominick C. Cimino architect, interior decoration, Canning Studios.

Connecticut’s Capitol Building – Inside and Out

The Genius of Connecticut: Give Her Wings!

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