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Bruce McCowan, P.Eng.
19 Monarchwood Cres., Don Mills, Ont., M3A1H3

Burrows Hall School
Grade 5

Integrated Learning Lesson Plan:
Social Studies, Technology, Math, Language
Using Historic Burrows Hall as a Learning Resource

March 11 2005


Physical Structure of Burrows Hall

  • Draw end bent on the board
  • Pass out barn raising photo to each table
  • Handout Keyword List


Agenda for This Class

  • Give out Keyword Handout
  • Students take 1 minute to look over the keyword Handout. You should fill in the blanks with the keyword definitions as we go, so you have to listen carefully.
  • Short review of historic Burrows Hall.
  • The structure of Burrow’s Hall.
  • Some experimenting.
  • Journal Entry.
  • This is primarily a lesson in science and technology -- structures.


You Now Have Handout #1
Keywords for Today -- Listening Skills
(Right Column is Blank in Student Handout)

Buckle Collapse under compression
Compression Push force -- member gets shorter
Evolve Change over time.
Farm / Farmer An economic unit. One way in which a family can earn a living, selling to others. The farmers can grow some of their own food.
Force Something that causes a change.
Frame The connected pieces of a structure which give strength, shape and form to the structure
Input Information that you receive
Load A type of force, usually physical in nature.
Member Individual part of a frame or structure
Output Information that you have re-arranged in a better format for someone else to use as input.
Properties Characteristics of an object
Symetry The similarity of two parts of an object when divided by an imaginary line
Tension Pull force -- member gets longer
Triangle 3 sided figure


Teacher / Class Interaction and Discussion
9:15 to 9:45

Review of Last Class about Burrows Hall

  1. Do you remember my last name? (Previous Lesson was a month earlier.) Did you use any tricks to remember my name?
    1. McCowan Road
  2. What do people do with all those open fields up McCowan Road?
    1. Farming; raising crops and cattle, riding horses
  3. Do you think your neighbourhood around here ever looked like the fields way up McCowan Road?
    1. Must have
  4. What was your school named after?
    1. Burrows Hall
  5. Your school was named after a little building where many very important decisions were made. And Burrow’s Hall was named after Mr. Henry A. Burrows, the Innkeeper who purchased the business and the little building in 1886.
  6. What was Burrows Hall used for:
    1. Scarborough Council Meetings
  7. These meetings were meetings of "Scarborough Township Council" and they made all the decisions about local affairs in the Township of Scarborough.
  8. What else was Burrows Hall used for:
    1. Keeping horse and buggy of the guests at the inn
  9. Look at your Keyword list: So, we talked about farmers in the last class. A farm is an economic unit. One way in which a family can earn a living, selling to others. The farmers can grow some of their own food.
  10. Where did keep their cows, horses and hay?
    1. Barn


Burrows Hall: (Science / Technology)
"The Physical Structure"


  1. Show a portion of barn beam (10" x 10" x 20" approx) (with peg). What is this object?
    1. Piece of a barn beam and peg.
  2. Show photo of Burrows Hall
    1. What do you think is covering the building?
      1. Boards
    2. What could likely be holding the building up?
      1. Posts
  3. Pass photograph of a barn raising to each group. What do you think this barn and Burrows Hall have in common?
    1. the frame
  4. What is the purpose and value of a barn
    1. grain storage, shelter cattle, protect machinery, important part of the agricultural industry -- milking cows, like any other factory
  5. This is a connection between building technology, life sciences, economic activity.
  6. And since Burrows Hall sheltered horses too in the shed below the Council Meeting room, we have a connection with politics andgovernment


  8. Return to the portion of barn beam with peg. What is this made of?
    1. Wood
  9. Why was wood chosen as a common building material?
    1. Readily available natural resource -- trees
  10. Name some properties of wood
    1. strong in compression, tension and bending
    2. can burn it
    3. can bend it when young
    4. easier to break when old


  11. What types of forces act on the barn structure
    1. Snow
    2. Wind
    3. Hay
    4. What might happen in a violent storm if one barn door was open?


  12. Look more closely at the photo of the barn frame. How was this frame put together?
    1. Sections were assembled on the floor, then tilted up and connected together
    2. So it is like a puzzle
  13. What parts are missing from the barn?
    1. Boards on the sides
    2. Top roof members which are flatter than the roof that you see.
  14. The top of the barn roof is flatter.
  15. What would happen if the diagonal braces were removed?
    1. Frame would be unstable
  16. What is the purpose of the Peg?
    1. Fastener at connection or joint
    2. Holds members together
  17. Do you see any triangles in this frame?
    1. braces at corners
    2. roof
  18. What number is associated with triangles?
    1. 3
  19. What is the purpose of the triangles?
    1. stability
  20. What is symetry?
    1. Similarity across an imaginary line.
  21. Do you see any symetry in the diagram of end bent on the board?
  22. What number is associated with symetry?
    1. Two
  23. Why are some of the members so large?
    1. Had lots of big trees in pioneer days
    2. Inefficient frame construction really
  24. If there is snow on the flatter part of the roof, what is happening to the members?
    1. Top in compression -- getting shorter
      1. illustrate using clamp -- squeezes finger
    2. Bottom in tension-- getting longer
      1. illustrate using elastic -- gets longer
  25. What is the most efficient use of material to resist snow load?
    1. Illustrate using the two boards
  26. What do we call this kind of load where both tension and compression are involved?
    1. bending
  27. What else could be done to use less material
    1. reinforcement
    2. I-beam

Review Keyword List.


Student Experimentation

  • Compression: press 3 books together and they won’t fall
  • 2 boards laying flat vs 2 boards on edge under bending


Passout Journal Entry Handout: You have 5 minutes to write your journal entry.


Journal Entry

Look at the piece of beam and peg and think about their purposes in building construction. Think about what you learned as we talked about Burrows Hall -- history, farmers, local population density, data management and the cattle tax, how local government works, procedures and structures. Write a 50 word paragraph about the importance of the peg. What does the peg do in the building system? What does the peg represent or symbolize in your learning system?

The Scarboro Heights Record   V13 #3 

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