Lesson Plan

Brunelleschi: Architect of the Renaissance

Students will learn about Filippo Brunelleschi's contributions to Italian architecture during the Renaissance.
Rob P.
Classroom teacher
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My Grades 6, 7, 8
My Subjects Social Studies

Students will be able to...

Summarize Brunelleschi's life and accomplishments. 

Identify three key features of Renaissance architecture.

Create an interactive timeline or image about the Florence cathedral.

Social Studies
Grades 6 – 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Inquiry-Based Learning Scenario

The year is 1418. You have been given the task of building the world's largest dome. The dome will put the finishing touches on the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Florence, Italy.

Student Warmup Questions

1) How would you prepare for this challenge?

After students have written down their answers, discuss the following options:

- Build Scale Models or Replicas

- Research Examples and Diagrams

- Talk to Master Craftsmen & Guild Members 

2) What type of training do architects and engineers need to build structures today?

- If possible, you may want to arrange an interview with an engineer or architecture expert via Google Hangouts

3)  What information would you want to know before you begin this building project?

- A local newspaper article about a current building project in your community may provide many good details for discussion, such as cost, materials, location, time frame, purpose, etc.



"How an Amateur Build the World's Biggest Dome"

National Geographic

- Have students write a 1 paragraph reflection on Google Docs. You can choose to have them focus on the biggest surprise, most important takeaway, etc. from the video.

2 Direct Instruction

Video Content Instruction


Nova - Great Cathedral Mystery

Student Work

Students will use and fill out the KWL Creator found on ReadWriteThink.


3 Guided Practice

Guided Practice

Assign students to work with a partner.

Each group will be assigned three paragraphs from the National Geographic article, "Brunelleschi's Dome."

Use the StudyBlue app to create vocabulary flashcards of key terms and facts from your group's paragraphs.

4 Independent Practice

Free, Paid
Free, Paid

Independent Practice

Option 1: TimeToast

Students will create a Brunelleschi biography timeline. They should include at least 6 key facts about his life.

Option 2: ThingLink

Students will use Thinglink to create an interactive image of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (Brunelleschi's dome). They should include at least 6 key facts about its design, construction methods, or unique features.

5 Wrap-Up

Activity: Presenting

Group presentations on Independent Practice projects (TimeToast or ThingLink)

6 Enrichment

Option 1: HaikuDeck

Create a HaikuDeck of the artwork found in the Baptistry of San Giovanni.

It is the oldest church in Florence, located directly across the square from the Cathedral dome built by Brunelleschi.

Option 2: Google Play

Play the game Brunelleschi: Age of Architects on Google Play or at http://brunegame.com/

Create a one-page strategy guide for new players.