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Furnish a Mail-order House

Social Studies, Art

Change, Technological change


  • Mail-order Houses by Les Henry
  • Historical catalogues (links below)
  • House plans (links below);
  • Current Sears catalogue (optional) to be brought in


  1. Assign a different catalogue to each group of students.
    Suggested catalogues are the:
  2. Using one of two floor plans of a 1929 Eaton's house (House 1) or (House 2), or a student's own house for the group that uses the current Sears catalogue, each group must build a model of a house and then furnish it with items from one catalogue.
  3. Students must decide on the composition and economic status of their family and furnish the house accordingly.
  4. They must then calculate the cost of all items. Rooms to include as a minimum are kitchen, bathroom, living room or parlour, and one bedroom. Other rooms can be added it groups wish.
  5. The houses can be two-dimensional or three-dimensional, as students wish and as time and resources permit. Furnishings can be printed from catalogue pages and glued onto stiff paper or drawn using the illustration as reference. Students can glue small stands behind the pictures to make them stand up.
  6. When groups are finished, students present their houses to the class and discuss the furnishings they selected and why.
  7. As a class, students compare the changes in technologies, décor, and costs.


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