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Midnight at the Marble Tomb

Activity Plan, Math 3

The Mathematics of the Taj Mahal


Scaling the Taj Mahal

Lesson Summary:

In this activity, students will build a scale model of the Taj Mahal from construction paper and cardboard using the actual measurements of the Taj Mahal.  They will decide what scale they want to use, and then convert each measurement of the Taj Mahal to their scale.

Subject: Math:
Geometry, Measurement, Representation.


Grade Level:

  • Target Grade: 6
  • Upper Bound: 8
  • Lower Bound: 6

Time Required: One class period



  • construction paper
  • cardboard
  • tape
  • scissors
  • metric rulers
  • Scaling the Taj Mahal Worksheet

Alternate version:

  • construction paper
  • metric rulers
  • Scaling the Taj Mahal Alternate Worksheet

Lesson Plan:

  • Divide the students into groups of 3-4 and give them the Scaling the Taj Mahal Worksheet.  Students will build a scale model of the Taj Mahal in India.  Students should first determine a scale for their model using their Worksheet. 
  • Have students look at the measurements on the Taj Mahal on their worksheet, and have them try to come up with a good scale they could build a miniature Taj Mahal from, of the form 1 cm = ? m. 
  • To fill out their table with the scaled values, you can discuss with students the following method: 100 m (actual measurement) Õ 1 cm (scale) = 20 cm (scaled measurement)

                                                                        5 m 

  • Check each groupís scale before passing out construction paper, cardboard, tape, scissors, and a ruler.  Once students have received building materials, they may begin to construct their model of the Taj Mahal.
  • It's important that by this point students have a very good idea of exactly what the Taj Mahal looks like.  Follow the links under "References" to show them some pictures.
  • Explain to the students the basic structure of the Taj Mahal.  The main building is large tomb, with a huge dome roof.  It sits on a square large marble slab.  On each corner of the marble slab, is a tall thin tower called a minaret.


Alternate Lesson Plan:

  • If having your students build the mini-models of the Taj Mahal is unrealistic for your class situation, as an alternate plan, you can have them use the same scale to draw a model of the front of Taj Mahal on a piece of paper.
  • You can have the students draw the model on regular printer paper or construction paper for the scales that result in a smaller model (like Scale 3 and Scale 4), or double-sized paper or poster board for the scales that result in a larger model (like Scale 1 and Scale 2).  There is a Scaling the Taj Mahal Alternate Worksheet, with instructions for drawing the scaled picture.
  • The drawings should look somewhat similar to this non-scaled example below:




 (To view this image, please download the file)





  • If time allows, you can have the students decorate their drawing, using real photos of the Taj Mahal for possible guidelines.



Completed tables with the scaled measurements are given in the Answer Key for selected scales.  the teacher should check the students calculations for accuracy and check the students construction/drawing for general accuracy.



Vocabulary / Definitions:

  • Scaling: A proportion used in determining the dimensional relationship of a representation to that which it represents: a world map with a scale of 1:4,560,000.







6.2 (C) Use multiplication and division in problems with equal ratios and rates

6.3 (B) Represent ratios and percents with models, fractions, decimals

6.4 (A) Represent proportions and conversions using tables and symbols

6.8 (B) Measure length, area, time, temperature, capacity, and weight

6.12 (A) Communicate mathematical ideas using words, graphs, models




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