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BUILDING BIG
Bridges
Domes
Skyscrapers
Dams
Tunnels
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The Educators Guide
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Program Descriptions
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  Activity: Columns
Activities Index | Handout | Educator Ideas  

General Tips
• The materials listed for each challenge are suggestions. You can limit or increase the choice of materials depending on what materials are available to you.
• Give kids the challenges ahead of time so they can think about possible solutions before the activity.
• Form groups of 3 or 4 kids for these activities. To ensure that all group members actively participate, assign roles such as "architect," "materials buyer," and "construction foreperson." Have kids switch roles during the activity.
• Incorporate a "design review" stage. Have kids present their plans to another group and trade feedback. Or, you can act as the City Engineer to provide comments and suggestions on each design. The finished projects can serve as outcomes for performance-based assessment.
• Any of these activities can be extended by adding the consideration of environmental loads such as earthquakes (shaking the table) or wind (using a table fan). Have kids test their structures, redesign them, and test them again.

Bridge Challenge
Illustration of suspension bridge. • This activity is a good follow-up to Tug-Push-Twist-O'War, Straw Shapes, Paper Bridge and Suspension Bridge.
• Remind kids that the span must be 45 cm (about 1.5 feet), so the bridge must be longer than that.
• Place the bridge across two desks to test its strength. Use the paper-cup load tester described in the
Suspension Bridge Activity Handout to test each bridge.  
Video Connection Afterward, use Building Small: Bridges to show how one family met this challenge. See Buy the Video for ordering information. 
Web Connection: Interactve Bridge Challenge.

Dome Challenge
• This activity is a good follow-up to
Tug-Push-Twist-O'War and Geodesic Dome.
• Remind kids to consider both geodesic and rib-style domes (as in Human Dome). A rib-style dome can be strengthened with buttresses or a tension ring around the bottom. 
Video Connection Afterward, use Building Small: Domes to show how two kids built a newspaper dome. See Buy the Video for ordering information. 
Web connection: Interactive Dome Challenge.

Skyscraper Challenge
Illustration of skyscraper. • This activity is a good follow-up to
Tug-Push-Twist-O'War, Columns, Newspaper Tower, and Straw Shapes.
• Encourage kids to incorporate cross-bracing in their skyscraper designs.  
Video Connection Afterward, use Building Small: Skyscrapers to show how one family built newspaper towers. See Buy the Video for ordering information. 
Web Connection: Interactve Skyscraper Challenge

Dam Challenge
Illustration of a dam. • This activity is a good follow-up to
Tug-Push-Twist-O'War and Under Pressure.
• Advance Preparation Combine water and sand in a trash barrel in a ratio of 1/2 gallon of water to 50 pounds of sand. Scoop wet sand into a sloping heap in one end of a clear plastic storage container. Kids can form a river channel in the wet sand and build a dam at one end of the channel.
• To get kids thinking about how they might use the materials, show "Dam Basics" from Dams (use the Program Description to locate this segment).  
Video Connection Afterward, use Building Small: Dams to show how two kids met this challenge. See Buy the Video for ordering information. 
Web Connection: Interactve Dam Challenge.

Tunnel Challenge
Illustation of tunnel. • This activity is a good follow-up to
Tug-Push-Twist-O'War and Meeting in the Middle.
• Because they cannot use their hands, kids must find a way to dig out the sand and stabilize the sides of the tunnel before laying in the tunnel sections (the toilet-paper tubes). Or, they may model the "shield" method by covering the ends of the tubes with paper and burrowing into the sand. 
Video Connection Afterward, use Building Small: Tunnels to show how one family met this challenge. See Buy the Video for ordering information. 
Web Connection: Interactve Tunnel Challenge. 

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