Students in grades 3 to 5 use engineering problem solving to create structures from paper, straws, tape, and paper clips that can support the weight of at least one textbook. For the second trial, they examine examples of successful buildings in history and try again.
Designing, 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.
The 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.
Structural engineer Emma Cardini has inspected some pretty impressive facades, including the Chicago Tribune Tower’s ornate spires and the Bridge of the Americas in Panama. Still, nothing compares with the capital bird’s eye view she literally enjoys on her latest job: rappelling down the marble sides of the Washington Monument to assess the damage from late August’s 5.8-magnitude earthquake.
In this short, fun activity for students in grades 2 to 12, teams learn about the engineering design process, including constraints on time and materials, by building the tallest free-standing tower out of pipe-cleaners.
Tags: build, Building Design, Civil Engineering, Class Activities, Design, design contest, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Grades K-5, North Carolina State University, pipe cleaner challenge, pipe cleaners, STEM education, Structural Engineering, tower
What do the Trans-Alaska pipeline, Brooklyn Bridge, and aviatrix Amelia Earhart have in common? They’re all featured on a new, interactive map of America’s greatest engineering feats and engineering-education milestones developed by PBS’s American Experience with organizations like the American Society for Engineering Education.
U.S. Geological Survey/photo of trans-Alaskan pipeline by Dave Houseknecht
Tags: Amazing Engineering, American Experience, ASEE, bridges, Civil Engineering, Curriculum, documentary, Engineering Map of America, interactive map, Internet Resources, Museums, PBS, Resources for Teachers, Skyscrapers, STEM videos, Structural Engineering, Videos, Web Resources
You don’t have to be an engineer to introduce engineering concepts and design into your classroom. The eGFI site includes scores of inexpensive, engaging lessons – searchable by grade level or subject – that cover the various engineering disciplines. To kick off the school year and acquaint you with eGFI, we’ve assembled a dozen of 2011’s most popular lessons and activities. Have fun putting some “E” in your STEM classes this semester!
Tags: Aerospace, balloon racers, bridge, build, catapult, Civil Engineering, Class Activities, earthquake, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Grades K-5, Lesson Plan, Lesson Plans, Nanotechnology, Structural Engineering, Teacher Resources, tower
New York City’s Skyscraper Museum celebrates a rich architectural heritage and examines the historical forces and individuals that have shaped its successive skylines. Through exhibitions, programs and publications, the museum explores tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction, investments in real estate, and places of work and residence. Cost: $5, $2.50 for students and seniors.
Des Plaines Public Library will sponsor a day of engineering exploration for children in grades 3-8, Sat., Oct. 16, 2010, with interactive displays and fun, educational presentations designed to enhance interest in engineering, math, and science. Engineers Bob Johnson, Chas Hague, and others will introduce budding young engineers to the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois exhibit. Cost: Free.