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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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Carving Out the Landscape

Car on roadElementary students investigate major landforms (e.g., mountains, rivers) in groups of two. They build a 3D model of a landscape depicting several of these landforms. Once they have built their model, they act as civil and transportation engineers to build a road through the landscape they have created.

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Building Bridges to Literature

Concord Hymn rude bridge poemDesigning, building, and testing bridges can help students develop teamwork and problem-solving skills along with inspiring their interest in engineering. Such hands-on projects also can fuel an interest in reading about bridges. Here are some notable titles that might strike a chord with your budding civil and structural engineers.

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Happy Birthday, Golden Gate Bridge

golden gate bridge at sunsteWhen California’s Golden Gate Bridge opened on May 27, 1937, more than 200,000 people strolled or roller-skated across its 4,200-foot causeway. The graceful span quickly became one of America’s most iconic landmarks – including for its safety features and other engineering feats.

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