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Henry's Cabin
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Henry Builds a cabin
Link to Author and Book


Measuring Henry's Cabin

Cabin Blueprint
Click on image to view larger blueprint
Nest Activity 

1. Constructing a house requires mathematics skills. Study the blueprint of the house and determine the surface area of the walls. (minus doors and windows) Why might a builder of a house need to know the surface area of the walls?


To find the surface area of the inside of Henry’s cabin, multiply the length times the width of each wall and add the area of each wall together to get the total surface area. The formula for finding the surface area is:


Henry was a frugal gentleman and he would not want to purchase more than he needed of anything. Knowing the surface area of walls will assist in knowing how much paint, plaster, etc. is required in completing the inside of the house. Since Henry shingled the outside of his house he would only want to purchase what he needed. Finding the surface area would assist with this goal.

Nest Activity 

2. Now determine the volume of he house. Why would a builder of a house today need to know the volume of house? Do you think that Henry took these considerations in mind when deciding the plan for his house? What quote of Henry David Thoreau supports your response?


To determine the volume of Henry’s house follow the formula:


Knowing the volume of a house will assist in realizing the heating needs of the home, (how many BTU’s , etc.) Henry heated his home with a small wood burning stove that was constructed after he moved into his cabin.

Nest Activity 

3. Create the cabin using 1/10 of the scale. Be sure that you keep everything proportional. Henry’s cabin had how many square feet? How large were his windows?


Using graph paper, take 1/10 of the measurements on the blueprint and create your own small Walden cabin.

Nest Activity 

4. Now create the furniture to the 1/10 scale. Create the furniture and arrange the furniture the way that Henry arranged his in the cabin.


Use paper, card stock, or balsa wood to create furniture to fit into Henry’s cabin.


Updated March 9, 2017
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