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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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Brazil’s Olympic Designs

imaginary stadium with light beamsAs host of the 2016 Summer Olympics, Brazil has had to tap engineering expertise for everything from stadium construction to pollution control to security systems in order to receive an estimated 15,000 athletes and half a million foreign visitors. Despite the country’s economic woes, zika virus concerns, and construction delays, the games will go on… though probably not without some hitches.

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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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The Eiffel Tower Turns 125

eiffel towerThe world’s most visited man-made monument turned 125 this year. Built for the Paris World’s Fair of 1889, French engineer Gustave Eiffel’s famous tower attracted scorn before it opened. But its role as a research lab for weather, aviation, and telecommunications helped ensure its longevity.

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Wilderness Engineers

Great Sand Dunes National ParkTheir work may be invisible when you visit America’s 758 wilderness areas, but engineers have played a key role in preserving and improving access to the country’s most pristine spots.

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Think Like a Bird!

bird at nestStudents in grades 2 to 4 learn about wildlife habitats, environmental engineering, and the complexities of nest construction by attempting to design and build a nest themselves.

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Engineering for the Three Little Pigs

Three Little Pigs laying bricksStudents learn about the importance of using the right materials for the job by building three different sand castles and testing them for strength and resistance to weathering. They then discuss how the buildings are different and what engineers need to think about when using rocks, soils, and minerals for construction.

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Activity: Design a Super Dome

dome constructionIn this activity, student teams learn about construction and engineering design by building a domed structure with an internal frame that is strong enough to support 120 grams of coins or candy on top. They present their domes to the class and complete reflections on the lessons learned.

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