How to Use This Guide
The BUILDING BIG Educator Guide presents a flexible collection of fun, simple hands-on activities for fifth- to eighth-graders. You can use one or two activities or all of them to introduce kids to the basic physical science of large structures and the excitement of inquiry learning.
Leading the Activities
This guide supports you whether you work in an afterschool program, classroom, science museum, or other setting; and whether you have very little or a lot of science background and experience with kids.
The Activity Planning Grid suggests ways to incorporate BUILDING BIG activities into your schedule, whether you have one hour or six weeks.
The Hands-On Glossary provides definitions and mini-activities that give kids a physical understanding of some basic terms. Use these mini-activities to introduce other activities and to clarify concepts.
Each hands-on activity includes an Educator Ideas page and a reproducible Activity Handout. Read the Activity Handout first to get a sense of the activity. Then read the Educator Ideas page for everything you need to
know to lead the activity: time, materials, preparation, icebreaker suggestions, content background, questioning strategies, and follow-up activities.
The reproducible Engineer's Notebook handout provides an organized format for kids to record their predictions, data, observations, and explanations. Have kids collect their completed Engineer's Notebook pages in a portfolio. Use the pages to
assess kids' learning;
create a bulletin board; or
compile a newsletter for families.
Incorporating the BUILDING BIG Videos
This guide is designed to stand alone&; the activities do not require watching the television programs. However, the videos can greatly enhance learning by clearly illustrating science concepts in action and presenting the engaging stories of large-scale building projects and the people behind them. The Educator Ideas pages suggest appropriate video segments for each hands-on activity. Even if BUILDING BIG is not currently being broadcast in your area, you can still Buy the Video.