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Fields of Dreams

ballpark graphicBallparks have come a long way from the baseball diamond cut into an Iowa cornfield in the 1989 movie Field of Dreams. Engineers have found new ways to design ever-more spacious stadiums, with better views, smart systems that reduce energy costs, and even apps that let you order food from craft beer to peanuts delivered to your seat.

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Three Little Pigs Design Challenge

three little pigs meet big bad wolf fanElementary students act as civil engineers to design and build a house that the big, bad wolf cannot blow down. If time allows, they can redesign and test their structures.

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Building for Hurricanes

hurricane tower challengeIn this engineering design challenge about building in hurricane-prone regions, students learn that a solid base helps stabilize a structure by constructing, testing, and redesigning a tower that can support a tennis ball at least 18 inches off the ground while withstanding the wind from a fan.
Note: While suitable for all ages, this activity works best with upper elementary students and older.

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Who Moved the Beach?

students conducting Cape Hatteras beach profile surveyHigh school students working in groups of three to four learn about the primary causes and impacts of coastal erosion, and use elevation data to construct profiles of a beach over time or to compare several beaches, make inferences about the erosion process, and discuss how humans should respond.

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Gimme Shell-ter

student in Project PORTS oyster restoration projectLike many New Jersey shore communities, Gandy’s Beach was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The solution? Engage school communities in a real-world restoration project: Building a living breakwater from bags of old shells to protect both oyster beds and shoreline from future storm damage.

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Crowdsourcing Coastal Resilience

Rebuild By Design Big UHurricane Sandy’s devastating floods exposed the need to re-engineer coastal communities for resilience and sparked a novel method to generate innovative design solutions: Crowd-sourcing. The six competition winners are now putting their ideas into practice.

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Save Our Shore!

unusual breakwaterStudents in grades 3 to 8 study coastal erosion and the apply the engineering design process to devise structures and policies to protect shorelines, taking public concerns into account.

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American Roots

National Museum of African American History and CultureThe National Park Service just turned 100 and what better way to celebrate than with the grand opening of a stunning new addition to the National Mall. The $540 million National Museum of African American History and Culture is adorned with a corona, or scrim, of 3,600 bronze-colored cast-aluminum panels that glow at night from the light within, and was built around a 77-ton, 80-foot-long railway car and other huge artifacts housed in its vast below-ground exhibit space.

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A Smart Road for Driven Students

Virginia Tech Smart RoadThis ordinary-looking stretch of road is anything but. Nestled in the mountains of southwest Virginia, the 2.2 mile blacktop contains three bridges, an intersection–and a brain!

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