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The Wonders of the World Databank is a searchable database that provides structural and historical information, plus fun facts and figures, about the structures featured in the BUILDING BIG series, as well as other notable engineering marvels.
- Each entry in the databank lists the structure's size. A diagram shows how they measure up to some famous examples -- for example, the height of skyscrapers is shown to scale next to the Eiffel Tower, Petronas Towers, Empire State Building, and Sears Tower.
- Have students build simple scale models of engineering wonders from the Databank using the information on size. For example, they can use sugar cubes and glue as "building blocks" to construct towers, dams, or bridges. The class should first decide on a reasonable scale (e.g., each side of a sugar cube = 10 meters).
- To help students envision the structure's actual size, have them develop comparisons to objects whose size they can picture, such as basketball hoops, swimming pools, or trucks.
- Many of the entries include fast facts and engaging stories about the structures. Have students write or videotape short news stories on structures they find interesting. Before they start writing, discuss some important features of news stories: the "five Ws" (who, what, where, when, and why); an engaging lead-in; a headline and byline; and accurate details. Students may also enjoy creating advertisements or travel brochures for these "extreme" structures.