August Theme:  Math in Architecture and Design

12 Months of Math

August’s 12 Month of Math theme is Architecture and Design.

Architecture is the art and science of designing buildings, and architects are the people who design the buildings and spaces we use – houses, offices, schools, skyscrapers, parks and even cities. Architects design and plan spaces with a combination of function and form. They want the building to work well for the intended purpose, but they want it to look good, too.

It takes more than just an architect to build a building. Learn about carpenters, civil engineers, interior designers, and construction managers in the Career Connections section. Join us this month as we explore math in architecture by learning more about shapes, angles, measurements, and a lot more.

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Parents' Corner

Math Talk

Topic:  Building with shapes

Little did you know, you estimate all day long!

  • When will dinner be ready?
  • How long will it take to get to work or school?
  • How far is it to the movies?
  • How much will the groceries cost?
  • How many people will be at the party?

An estimation is an educated guess based on your knowledge and experience. Estimates can help you with spending, time management, planning, or to sooth an impatient child. (Are we there yet?)  Take a look at these Estimation opportunities you can engage in with your child.

Try it! Estimations

Notice the shapes around you!

Next time you are walking around town or driving through a neighborhood have your child look at the different buildings and structures you are passing.

  • What shapes do they notice?
  • Are all the buildings made of rectangles and squares?
  • Or do some have arches or curves?
  • Do the bridges have any triangles in them?
  • How many different shapes can they find on their own house?

Create shapes with other shapes:

With your child, use building blocks to build as many different shapes as you can.

  • Can you use square blocks to make a pyramid?
  • Can you use triangle pieces to make an arch?
  • What other shapes can you make? A circle? A trapezoid?
  • Are some shapes sturdier than others?

Experimenting with how things fit together is a great way to flex your spacial reasoning skills. Math skills, such as spacial reasoning, are like any other skill, with practice and experience you get better and more comfortable with it.

Events and Daily Activities

Math in Architecture and Design

Sunday, August 18, 2-4pm

How are buildings made? Can you design and create a building out of unlikely materials, such as paper and straws? Can you make the tallest building? Learn more about architecture and design with 12Months of Math!

Daily Math Activities

Think It, Build It! Challenge

Explora’s New STEAM Room & Rotary Pavilion

Saturday, August 25, 2018

In August, 12 Months of Math celebrates Architecture & Design. Saturday, August 25, 2018, 11am-2pm, visitors of all ages are welcome to let their imaginations and creativity loose as they explore designing and building through fun challenges hosted by professionals working in STEM. See how Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math are important in engineering design and construction.

Explore your understanding of architecture and design in three separate challenges, each led by a different STEM professional. Try one, two, or all three challenges.

Each Think It, Build It Challenge will engage families in a fun, interactive challenge—plan, build, and test! Families will also have the opportunity to interact with, and learn from, professionals from the field.

Think It, Build It! Challenges are included with general admission and free for Explora members.

Career Connections

Mathematics is used by architects to express the design images on a drawing that can then be used by construction workers to build that image for everyone to see. Mathematics is needed to analyze and calculate structural problems in order to engineer a solution that will assure that a structure will remain standing and stable. The sizes and shapes of the elements of a design are possible to describe because of mathematical principles such as the Pythagorean Theorem. Read more

Urban Planner

Instead of designing a building, why not plan out an entire community? Urban planning is an architecture career for designers that involves meeting with officials, building professionals, and local citizens to decide the best options for land use. You must consider zoning, environmental issues, economic concerns, and the needs of residents to create your plan.


If you’re more about the building than the design, this job may be for you. Carpenters work with architects to bring their ideas to life using math, creating features in the buildings such as walls, supports, stairwells, door frames, and even furniture.

Civil Engineer

Another architecture career to consider is a civil engineer. Your job will be to organize the plans for buildings by analyzing costs, ensuring compliance with government regulations, monitoring environmental safety, and determining material stability. Civil engineers often work onsite to oversee construction projects.

Interior Designer

While architects design the outside of the house or building, your job is to decorate the inside. Your create a design scheme after reviewing blueprints for a home, office space, or other building. Abiding by local building regulations and using calculated measurements, you will find the perfect lighting, furniture, and other fixtures to utilize the space effectively.

Construction Manager

Your job will be to calculate a budget, prepare estimates, and hire subcontractors to make an architect or engineer’s project come to life. Your responsibilities include ensuring you stick to legal requirements and safety codes while building structures, public spaces, roads, or bridges.

Information provided by

Career Spotlight

 Learn how these professionals use math in their careers:


Mindy Koch, Intel NM
Corporate Services Site Manager


Ron Eppes, Intel NM
Community Engagement Manager 


Daniel Mcculley, Intel
Corporate Affairs


Brian Cappleman, Intel
Mechanical Facilities Engineer

Fun Online Resources

Party Designer
at Math Playground

Engineering Games
at PBS Kids

sketchup design app

Download Design App
free for teachers and students

Thanks to our Title Sponsors:

Color Explora Logo iHeart Media intel NSF logo

12 Months of Math, a project of STEM-NM, is a city-wide initiative designed to explore and celebrate math’s importance to our community and in our lives. 12 Months of Math will provide community-based, culturally-relevant, multilingual family math programs for the public. Each month of math will focus on a selected theme and will provide math activities in a real-world context, supported by local business and organizations whose work relates to the month’s theme. 12 Months of Math brings together the varied expertise of partner organizations and coordinates efforts to bring about significant improvement in children’s math outcomes.

STEM-NM is New Mexico’s nationally-designated STEM Learning Ecosystem, working to increase the prosperity of our community by engaging students and preparing them for jobs in our local science, technology, and health care sectors.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1744541. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

12 Months of Math is looking for math events and opportunities to engage New Mexico families. If you would like to share math information with us please fill in this contact form.

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